Just as teachers in Los Angeles and Oakland have drawn a line inthe sand for their students, so have members of the Rocklin TeachersProfessional Association (RTPA). Hundreds of teachers and community supporters rallied at the December 19 Rocklin Unified School District (RUSD) schoolboard meeting to support their efforts in getting a fair contract.
The two sides have been certified to fact-finding after the mediation failed. While the two found common ground on special education and safety language, the district’s refusal to invest in attracting and retaining the best teachers for Rocklin students became the line in the sand.
“We are in the midst of a statewide teacher shortage, yet the district is not willing to invest in what our students need most – qualified teachers. We are concerned RUSD won’t be able to attract qualified teachers,” said RTPA President Colleen Crowe.
“We’ve done our homework,” she added. “RUSD can afford our proposal which, hopefully, will attract and retain the best teachers for our students.” RTPA is asking for a 12.5% increase in compensation to help keep its over 622 members from pursuing better pay and benefits in neighboring districts. The district is offering 4.65%. To get the same pay as Roseville City School District teachers, RUSD would have to prioritize the investment of a 13.5% salary increase for teachers, Crowe noted. Even more for salaries to be comparable with the Roseville Joint Union High School District. “No wonder those districts do a better job attracting teachers and substitutes.”
“Rocklin teachers are standing up for students and fighting for the future of our schools and community. There is no more important expenditure than investing in a stable and highly qualified team of teachers to work directly with our students,” she said
A possible strike remains on the table as the local teachers consider all options. RTPA members voted overwhelmingly in October to authorize RTPA’s executive board to call a strike in the event a contract settlement is not reached. A strike is legal upon completion of the fact-finding process. “We are prepared to make this sacrifice for our students and our community,” said Crowe. “We don’t want to strike, but we will for our students, our schools, and our community.”