This Thursday, the teachers and parents of the Williams Unified School District will gather in protest, to rally peacefully before the 6:30 PM school board meeting where they will voice their concerns. The Williams Teachers Union and the district are at a stalemate after months long teacher salary negotiations.
“Despite offering the superintendent and district managers, who have no direct contact with students, and the classified staff, a 3.4% salary hike, Superintendent Edgar Lampkin and the Williams Unified School District (WUSD) Board of Education have offered NO salary improvement to recruit and retain high-quality teachers,” the Williams Teachers Union said in a Monday press release.
“The District has not addressed why they can afford these other salary increases, but not for the teachers. We are the professionals teaching our students daily,” said Williams Teachers Association (WTA) President Tony Hermann, a junior/senior high school physical education teacher. “We’re disappointed in the lack of respect being shown for the hard work of Williams’ educators and our commitment to the students of our community.”
After failed mediation efforts between the WTA and WUSD, a state appointed mediator has certified the parties to fact-finding, the next and final step in the negotiations process as defined by the Educational Employment Relations Act (EERA). The fact-finding hearing involves a three-member panel, including a state-appointed neutral, who will preside. Under the EERA, if a settlement is not achieved, fact-finding will set the stage for a possible strike. According to WTA, despite receiving millions in new money from the state to provide a quality education to our students, the WUSD is refusing to invest in teachers.
“Superintendent Lampkin is withholding from teachers the 3.4% increase in salary he gave himself, classified, and management. Ensuring our students have the most qualified and best teachers possible is our priority. Teachers do not understand why educating students is not a financial priority for Superintendent Lampkin. We think it’s time for WUSD to make teachers and our classrooms a priority,” said Hermann. “We’ve done our homework, and this district can afford our proposal.”
The Williams Teachers Association expects protests to begin about 6 PM, before the 6:30 PM school board meeting on Thursday, Sept. 14, outside the College and Career Center at Williams High School, 260 11th St. in Williams. ■