More than 200 teachers filed into Santa Barbara Unified School District’s board of education meeting Tuesday evening to protest contract negotiations that have not gone their way. Bargaining began in January, with the Santa Barbara Teachers Association aiming for a 4 percent raise, according to union president Karen McBride. The district — wrangling a budgetary shortfall of $6 million over the next two fiscal years — countered with no salary increase for this year. “It’s almost like a slap in the face to get offered a zero percent raise, even considering the circumstances,” said David Mendoza, who teaches special education and math at Santa Barbara High School.
“I’ve spent the last six months making sense of the budget, and the union has been good at giving me time,” said Superintendent Cary Matsuoka, hired last summer. “They’ve been very patient, and now they’re not patient. I understand where they’re coming from, and I look forward to negotiating a productive outcome. I’m hopeful we’ll come to an agreement this week.”