Marysville teachers union asks for higher wages

MARYSVILLE – Teachers still have to buy classroom supplies with their own money.

They still have to keep track of how much paper they use.

Some have still had to come up with their own curriculums.

And they have to be their own advocates when working with the state legislature.

For all that, and so much more, Marysville teachers union president Randy Davis said Monday night at the school board meeting that they deserve to be compensated fairly.

Teacher Robert Crosby also spoke briefly. “Most teachers have not received a COLA (cost-of-living adjustment) in eight years,” he said. There is discussion of a 3 percent raise, and he said 3 percent for each of the eight years, or a 24 percent hike, sounds good to him.

Interim superintendent Jason Thompson said he appreciated all the dozens of teachers attending.

“I’m sure there are many other things you’d rather be doing the night before school lets out,” he said, adding he has no doubt an agreement can be reached.

During his talk, Davis said the teachers in the Marysville School District do not feel respected.

They gathered signatures so levies would pass by simple majorities.

They have helped to make classroom sizes smaller.

They have worked for more state funding.

“You’re welcome. We did this,” Davis said. “Years of action by my colleagues.”

Davis said “market-based” salaries by Sept. 1 are what they are asking for and what is required by law.

“It’s not easy to stay in this profession,” he said.

Thompson said later, “We have a huge opportunity to work out our differences.”

Also at the meeting, community activist Preston Dworskin received his diploma – a little late as he graduated from Marysville-Pilchuck in 2012. He said he was given the wrong one six years ago. Dressed in a red cap and gown, Dworskin said he has fought for and will continue to fight for teachers and education in front of the state legislature.

School board members also heard about the Peer Support and Suicide Prevention Group at the meeting. It started in March after a student wanted to help after a friend threatened suicide.

Christine Hinojosa, an assistant principal at M-P, and Chris Sutherland, the Marysville police resource officer at M-P, helped get it going.

Hinojosa said police paid for bracelets to be handed out that say: “Never, never give up. You matter.”

She said other keys are to listen and let others know it’s OK not to be OK.

“They are appreciated and loved,” student Chloe Morgan added.

Did you get a sense that it made any difference? school board member Pete Lundberg asked Morgan.

“In the middle schools, some said it gave them the help they needed,” she replied.

Another student, Susana Barbosa, said it makes a difference when the student body can talk about it.

Thompson said, “Students need you. I wish you were freshmen” who could keep helping instead of graduating seniors.

Sutherland said it’s off to a good start and will continue next year with new leadership.

In closing the meeting the school leaders talked about how impressed they were at last week’s graduations.

“I enjoyed the students speeches – thoughtful, caring,” Thompson said.

Board member Chris Nation was impressed with their confidence when shaking hands. “We had a quiet, successful year. I can’t wait until next year. We have some good systems in place.”

Board member Maria Maksimos said of the teachers: “Coming from a background where teachers don’t care, here they do everything for the kids. I appreciate them.”

Board member Vanessa Edwards added, “Their sacrifice really shows at graduation.”

Meanwhile, at the work session preceding the meeting, Thompson gave his Secondary Schools Recommendation to the board. They decided not to make it public because the board wants to make some changes.

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