After failed negotiations, the West Sonoma County Teachers Association is preparing to strike on Wednesday, November 13th. Collectively, we're raising funds to support our efforts, including purchasing sign materials, water and food for teachers and supporters on the line, and printing expenses. These costs are an unfortunate reality of a difficult situation in West Sonoma County.
Teachers have been routinely asked to take less in regards to salaries and benefits while the cost of living in Sonoma County continues to increase. West Sonoma County Union High School District will continue to struggle to recruit and retain the best educators if salaries remain significantly below the averages of comparable schools and districts throughout California.
The District has consistently suggested an inability to offer salary increases while purposefully leaving those increases out of annual budget predictions. Quite frankly, the money "isn't there" because the District is choosing to place teachers last when making financial decisions. The practice of putting teachers last, unfortunately, has led to phenomenal educators choosing other employment opportunities over our schools. The District's fear-based predictions have become self-fulfilling prophecies, leading to low staff morale. Ultimately, our wonderful students are the ones most impacted. Experienced teachers are having to take second or third jobs, live with roommates/relatives, and barely scrape by financially despite dedicating themselves to their schools and communities. Finally, we are standing up for ourselves and the career we all love. We are standing up for our students and demanding that they continue to receive the excellent education they deserve from rejuvenated and enthusiastic teachers that are wholly focused on providing an enriching 21st-century education.
Any and all support is greatly appreciated. Your donations will support the efforts of local educators, including showing solidarity that is needed during this difficult time. The funds will be withdrawn to the Wst Sonoma County Teacher's Association bank account through the local Umpqua Bank. All funds will be monitored and regulated by WSCTA President Lily Smedshammer, Treasurer Jo Dempsey, and facilitated through fundraising coordinator Jerod Brown. The funds will go into the Teacher's Association bank account to cover the cost of print fees, sign fees, and other supplies on the strike lines such as food, water, setup. All unused funds will be given directly to the schools through the respective Education Funds at West Sonoma County Union High School District sites.