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Santa Barbara teachers and supporters rally outside mediation meeting Wednesday

Teachers rally as district negotiates with union following Fact Finding hearing with neutral panelist
Teachers rally in hopes of getting new contract following Fact Finding hearing

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.- Teachers rallied for the second day in a row outside the Santa Barbara Unified District Office.

That is where representatives from the Santa Barbara Teachers Association (SBTA) and the district's administration are meeting with a neutral party.

SBTA president Hozby Galindo is hopeful they can resolve their issues over pay and benefits withing a 24 hour time limit under mediation rules.

"Right now, we have already done the hearing that has already happened that happened in the morning, now, it is up to both sides and the neutral panelist, the chair, to come in, do the mediation," said Galindo, "they are working right now, both teams are working, that is where we are at right now and as long as neutral panelist wants to keep working with us we keep at it."

Teachers, some supporters, and kids held signs and chanted slogans about pay.

Some teachers brought their drums, making it highly likely the negotiators could hear the rally.

Some will be leaving the rally to head to La Cuesta and Alta Vista graduations taking place from 5-7 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Garden.

The other high school graduations will take place throughout the day and evening on Thursday.

Before the Fact Finding hearing, the district had offered a nine percent raise the first year, followed by a four percent raise.

Teachers have said they want 15 percent the first year, followed by eight percent the next year.

They said they are fighting for wages to live in Santa Barbara, one of the most expensive communities to live in along the coast.

Some teachers have left for higher paying jobs in neighboring districts.

Teachers have said salaries range from $56,000 for starting teachers to $100,000 for those with the most experience.

SBUSD's Chief of Communications Ed Zuchelli shared the following statement on Tuesday:

"We recognize and value the teachers union's right to use all avenues provided during labor negotiations to ensure they are compensated at the highest possible salary. We have seen and heard teachers come to the District's board meetings expressing concerns over the recent impact of inflation, increased housing costs, and the general cost of living in Santa Barbara as profoundly impacting their daily lives."

Zuchelli added, "We are committed to reaching an agreement, keeping schools open, and letting fiscal facts lead our negotiations."

The current contract expires at the end of the month.

Teachers voted last month to authorize a strike in the new school year if a new contract isn't negotiated in time.

Your News Channel will update the community on the negotiations as soon as new information is available.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
labor contract negotiations
Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Teacher's Association
Santa Barbara Unified School District

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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