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Kentfield teachers protest pay proposal – Marin Independent Journal

Teachers in the Kentfield School District reject a salary increase proposal.

More than half a dozen teachers testified emotionally to the board at its May 10 meeting, saying the district’s current offer of a 2% salary increase for 2022-23 amounts to a pay cut in the face of an 8.3% annual inflation rate in the Bay Area.

“My husband and I are both teachers,” said Lindsay Zerzan, a teacher at Bacich Elementary School for six years. “Over the past month, we have received notices of increases for our rent for our apartment and our childcare costs.”

The family’s household expenses will increase by “an extra $400 a month this summer just for rent and daycare,” Zerzan added. “I love what I do and where I do it. But I don’t know how long our family will be able to do this without an increase in the cost of living.

Physical education teacher Celeste Perez said she and her husband, also a civil servant, discovered while on vacation that they needed new tires for their cars. However, they had to delay tire purchases each month due to dental and orthodontic costs for their three children. So far, only the tires of her husband’s car have been replaced.

“My car is in the parking lot with bald tires,” Perez said. “I don’t say this lightly. It’s probably extremely dangerous for me to drive it right now. I can’t afford to buy new tires.

District officials said further contract talks are scheduled for Wednesday.

“Negotiations for the 2022-23 school year are ongoing,” council chairman David Riedel said Monday. “Kentfield spends 85% of our annual budget on salaries and benefits for our valued staff. »

Warren Beales, president of the Kentfield Teachers Association, said he was not yet ready to comment on the discussions or any proposals.

“There are other negotiations to be had, including the 18th,” Beales said Tuesday. “Any comments that I or any other union representative might make at this time would be premature.”

According to Riedel, the district has an $18.9 million budget that supports instructional programs delivered by 80 teachers at two schools – Bacich Elementary School and Kent Middle School. The district’s 2021-2022 enrollment is 1,034 students, according to the California Department of Education.

“We are working closely with all of our staff to ensure that we reach the best possible agreement that honors and rewards our teachers and staff while safeguarding the long-term financial health of our district,” Riedel said.

The average teacher salary for Kentfield District for 2021-22 is $95,000, not including benefits, according to Raquel Rose, the Superintendent of Kentfield. Including all health, retirement and other benefits, the average salary is $132,000, she said.

In Marin, the average teacher salary, without benefits, was $89,935 for 2021-22, according to Marin Schools Superintendent Mary Jane Burke. Statewide, the average teacher salary was $85,856, according to the California Department of Education.

Kentfield teachers last testified in public in May 2019, when they were at an impasse with the district over their 2019-20 contract.

The impasse was resolved in August 2019, with the two sides agreeing to a new two-year contract that included wage increases of 2% for 2019-20 and 2.5% in 2021-22.