Substantially Raise OUSD Teacher Wages
This petition had 3,229 supporters
As parents, family member, and friends of children enrolled in the Oakland Unified School District, we value our teachers and are grateful for their hard work, dedication and care of our children. Therefore, we urge you to raise OUSD teacher wages so that our schools can attract and retain excellent teachers.
Oakland teachers currently receive the lowest salaries in the region, causing a crippling teacher turnover at our schools. In her article in "Oakland Local," Barbara Grady clearly explains why our teachers are leaving: "The average salary in the district is $55,000, which is 16 percent lower than the state average and 20 percent lower than the county average. Experienced teachers can make $10,000 more a year just by taking a job in the next town" (12/17/14, Oaklandlocal.com). This wage disparity has led to 13% of Oakland teacher's leaving the district each year, and 70% of them leaving within five years. As a consequence of this low pay, Grady explains, many teachers "view their jobs in Oakland as short-lived, as a place to come for a year or two to get experience." Their reasoning makes sense: wouldn't you travel a few miles to work if you could make $10,000-$15,000 more? No one goes into teaching for the money, but it's insulting that our teachers are asked to work for substantially lower pay than their counterparts in the neighboring town.
This disruptive and often unexpected turnover of talent negatively impacts our children’s education. Though we applaud Superintendent Antwan Wilson's commitment to raising teacher salaries, his current plan of raising salaries by 10% over three years is not enough: Oakland rents have increased 10% in this past year alone while the Consumer Price Index has increased 26% over the past decade. Our teachers, who have seen a mere 3.25% increase in pay in the last ten years, have effectively had a pay reduction. They need a much higher wage increase simply to continue living in Oakland and pay their bills (Jill Tucker, SF Chronicle, 11/20/14, Laura McCamy, 7/2/14, http://oaklandlocal.com/2014/07/oakland-rents-on-the-rise/).
We, therefore, call on Superintendent Antwan Wilson and the OUSD Governing Board Directors to make competitive teacher compensation a top priority. All children deserve an excellent education, and we urge you, our educational leaders, to ensure that OUSD can attract and retain excellent teachers.
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