There is a quote from American Indian Ten Bears: “My heart is filled with joy when I see you here,” he began, “as the brooks fill with water when the snows melt in the spring; and I feel glad as the ponies do when the fresh grass starts in the beginning of the year ...”
His speech urged peace, and spoke of broken promises, and suffering of his people. I took the liberty to alter it to our district:
“As the classes fill with children, when the fog melts on the Pajaro Valley Unified School District; and I feel glad, as the parents do when the first page of a book turns that starts the beginning of the school year ...”
Nationally in the United States there is a $3.5 billion loss because new teachers must be trained. One wonders how much money our district has lost and continues to lose by making our teachers have some of the lowest salaries in the states. Half of all new teachers quit. You want respect and loyalty?
Please, show our children, parents, teachers and our community the same respect and loyalty we have given you.
Our community has shown their respect by reaching down deep into their pockets to say they love their children by passing two bond measures. These measures have given our school district an excess of $40 million, not only for this year, but we will receive small increments for the following seven years.
I and all the other teachers say, “Thank you parents for your caring generosity!”
But we have not seen any of it! The glue that is the Pajaro Valley Unified School District teachers have not seen any of it! None!
Our teachers and I have shown our loyalty by taking a five percent temporary cut at the last round of layoffs and furlough days, (which have not been reinstated, even though they were “temporary”). We have gone seven years without a raise while the cost of living has increased dramatically with milk, postage stamps, electricity, water and housing. Teachers have given 30, 40 and 50 years of service, that is years of life to our most precious gifts and resource, our children. And we would do it all over again. That’s loyalty. That’s respect.
We know there are other districts that pay more (Salinas pays its teachers 22 percent more) but can they match the loyalty from the teachers that have remained in Watsonville?
The respect and loyalty that has been offered to our teachers are: No contract to date, higher number of children per class and seven new administrators hired with a seven percent increase, when teachers were originally offered three percent, and the district is favorably looking to get contracts for dogs before settling with teachers.
That’s the loyalty and respect our teachers see.
Antonio Navarro is a special needs teacher at Cesar Chavez Middle School.
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