High school district makes teacher raises official — financial cuts loom and the parcel tax becomes crucial
At the West Sonoma County Union High School District board meeting on Jan. 22, the board unanimously approved the tentative agreement between the district and the West Sonoma County Teachers Association, providing district teachers (and other personnel) with a 12% wage increase over the next three years (a 4% increase per year). The wage increase in the third-year is contingent on the passage of Measure B, a parcel tax on the March 3 ballot.
The district’s interim CBO Anne Barron said that in to order afford the raises, purchase textbooks and preserve the district’s required 3% reserve, the district will have to identify cuts of $400,000 in 2020-21 and $650,000 in 2021-22.
“I know that’s a lot of money,” she said. “And that’s assuming that Measure B passes. If measure B does not pass, we’re looking at a much different situation and we would have to be identifying much larger cuts.”
Barron began to complain about the unfairness of the union’s salary comparisons, which ruffled some feathers, but board members rushed in to smooth them.
“I’m at peace with the raise we’ve given our certificated staff, and the work we have cut out for us is just part and parcel of the same thing,” said board member Diane Landry.
Measure B parcel tax update
Measure B Campaign Manager Jim Walton said these numbers pointed out just how crucial it is to pass Measure B, a $79-a-year parcel tax, which will bring in approximately $1.8 million into district coffers.
“If this doesn’t pass, this district is going to be in a world of hurt,” he said.
Walton said he needed more people to step up to donate and participate in the campaign to help get the word out. He also announced that the campaign now has its own website (friendsofwscuhsd.org) where people can learn about the measure and donate online.
Walton said that advocates of Measure B are going to be hitting the pavement in towns all across west county this weekend.