Teachers protest at school board meeting

The Hollister School District’s board meeting had standing room only last week, as teachers and their supporters waved about 40 signs and spoke during a lengthy public comment about the need for a raise and the atmosphere of on-going contract negotiations.
The protests came during a meeting in which teachers were recognized for between 10 and 35 years of service.
“Though I appreciate your small tokens of appreciation I would like to see it in our salary,” said Angela Robledo, who has taught in the district for 31 years, when she spoke to the board during last Tuesday’s meeting. “You need to make up the deficits we’ve been incurring for what I would say is 10 years.”
During public comment, audience members may bring up a topic that is not on the agenda. Trustees must listen to the comments, which are limited to three minutes, and not respond back. Trustee Elsa Rodriguez was absent.
“The teacher shortage is only getting worse,” said Cheryl Rios, who has served as the president of the Hollister Elementary School Teachers Association. “It is time for district administrators to leap out of the box and prioritize teachers.”
A conference between Gary McIntire, the superintendent of the Hollister School District, and labor negotiators was listed as a closed-session item on the agenda for that meeting. The district also approved a draft budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year during the same board meeting.
Teachers spoke about a lack of appreciation, alleged they were not a priority in the budget and bemoaned a lack of collaboration in the negotiation process. Signs included such slogans as: “0 percent raise = zero respect”, “Teachers need more $$$$”, “Keep our health benefits” and “More work + 1% ≠ raise.”

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