BY Samuel Strait, Reporter at Large – February 14, 2021

It looks like right on cue we have the annual curbside gathering of the
Del Norte Teacher’s Association along Highway 101 at the fairgrounds
protesting about how little pay and benefits that they receive. 
Granted, last year’s whine was cut short by the pandemic, but sure
enough almost before the youth in our County have returned some what to the classroom, the DNTA is after a 5% raise in pay, as well as a laundry
list of other concessions from the District.  Seems the 3.5% pay raise
requested by the DNTA from the end of last seasons wrangling was not
enough to satisfy this pampered lot.

It looks like the 5% hike is only the beginning, with the ability to
strike, and an increase in the already generous compensation for health
care and wellness benefits, what ever that means. Seems the princes and
princesses of the classroom are not acquainted with the fact that they
already do pretty well for Del Norte County when it comes to
compensation for a half year of work.  Of course the pressure brought on
by the panic over Covid-19 must have upped the quest for combat pay
following the abysmal performance of the district’s attempt to educate
in 2020. For most folks, nearly $1,000 per month is in line for a
premium health care package, not too shabby.

Actually, the pay for the 2018-2019 school year for almost all teachers
put them well above the poverty line, the average pay in Del Norte
County, and headed towards the upper 5% of all wage earners in the
County.  If the job performance measured up, there probably would be
fewer eye brows raised to the nearly annual event for the DNTA at the
fairgrounds in February/March.  Problem is that many in the community
believe the heavy dose of propaganda annually spread far and wide about the woeful conditions educators find themselves.  One would think that they would understand the concept of basic budgets, probably not.

Naturally, the complaints of our well compensated educator class do not
end with more pay and benefits.  They quickly move on to pay checks in
August, (I am fairly certain you can spread your compensation over the
entire twelve months if you choose), increased time for for daily
planning and prep, clarification of scheduling, and curriculum
consistency between school sites.  I am wondering if they would like the
District to hire some one to teach for them as well?  Maybe a better
product will emerge.

Having grown up in the family of teachers, including Grandmother,
Father, Mother, Two sisters, and one of my own children, I have heard
all the stories.  Teachers, currently have very little to complain about
and shouldn’t.  Try living on $800 a year as a teacher, with a family
and a stay at home mom.  I’m quite sure that most teachers do not bear
anything close to that burden in this day and age.   If I recall, 2020
saw a 2% salary schedule raise, plus a 2% flat dollar raise, plus a 0.5%
supplemental raise, plus $1,000 added to their health benefits, not
something many have seen in this community for some time.   Maybe more time should be spent raising the quality of education rather that
standing in the rain at the fairgrounds weeping about being pay
disrespected.

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