Their signs say it all.
With help from the community, Newhall School District teachers made sure their voices were heard.
Their teachers haven’t seen an increase in their pay in nearly five years – that at the time was just 2%.
“We have repeatedly been the highest performing district in the Santa Clarita Valley, however received the lowest amount of raise of all the other sister districts in our valley for years,” said Shelbey Levine, a teacher at Pico Canyon Elementary.
All of this comes after board members gave themselves a 5% raise just weeks ago, while NSD teachers are left fighting for a raise for the first time in five years, just to keep up with inflation.
“We’re not talking about living extravagantly, we’re talking about teachers being able to feed their families, buy clothing [and] gasoline for their cars so we can go to school and do the jobs we love and do diligently every day,” said Levine.
For teachers like Hilary Hall who have organized these rallies, she felt the need to fight because she sees the issues teachers are facing first hand.
“After all the work these teachers are putting in, I’m seeing [some] who can barely afford to pay their bills,” Hall, a sixth grade teacher in the district and National Teachers Association President, stated.
Hall went on to explain the pay scale in the Newhall School District compared to its sister districts, and stated that she as well as many others would be able to start at a new district right now and still make $10,000 more.
But it’s not just about fighting for colleagues, it also comes down to the main reason that these teachers are in their profession.
“We’re trying to make sure that we keep these teachers in the district, otherwise the district is going to suffer – leading the kids to suffer. We only want what’s best for our kids, though,” Hall explained.
“We’re a little scared that things aren’t going our way, so we really need [the district] to know that the community is behind us too,” Hall said.
So they stand together with support from over one-hundred people – reassuring them that they are doing what’s right for each other.
“It shows us that the parents and kids are behind us. They know we’re working hard, so having them here and that sense of unity while we stand up for our rights feels good,” said Hall.
For now, they stand together on the hill outside of the district office as one – with one simple message.
“It is time for the Newhall School District to value its teachers and pay us what we’re worth,” said Levine.
We made multiple attempts to reach out to the Newhall School District for comment on this issue and have yet to receive a response back.
For now, teachers are negotiating with the district’s board of directors, and have been offered a two percent raise – which does not come close to what most are getting to cover inflation.
Another rally ahead of the district’s next board meeting is set to happen at a later date.