For the first time in five years, teachers in the Santa Barbara Unified District will receive a pay raise. Teachers — and classified staff — will see a 2 percent increase retroactively effective from July 1 of last year, and a one percent increase effective March 1. Teachers who have worked for the district for five years earned $51,202 last year, so the hike translates to a little more than $1,500 this year.
The moderate pay hike follows a sea of changes for Santa Barbara teachers. Beginning last fall, the start of the new professional learning communities program — which eliminated department chairs and reorganized teacher collaboration by course and grade level — changed the nature of teachers’ work. The implementation of the newfangled discipline model dubbed restorative approaches — which will roll out to additional schools next fall — also expanded the scope of teachers’ responsibilities. As with teachers across California, area educators will continue to prepare for Common Core State Standards and are expected more and more to incorporate technology into the classroom. “For me, this raise is really more of an appreciation for the value of our teachers,” said boardmember Monique Limón.
Moving forward, the conversation between teachers’ union representatives and district administrators will continue. At Tuesday’s meeting, the board voted to reopen negotiations between district administrators and union representatives, which will include talk about health and welfare benefits, hours and conditions, class sizes, and more. Teachers (like all district employees) have seen a steady increase in their health-insurance costs over the past several years. For the 2013-2014 school year, there was a 10.5 percent increase in health-care costs, and in the past, costs have gone up by as much as 25 percent.