FAIRFIELD — More than 100 teachers and classified employees protested a management pay boost outside the site of a closed session Tuesday by Travis School District trustees – whose president later announced that trustees will take up a measure to rescind the pay increase.
Mary Richards, representing the Travis Chapter of the California School Employees Association for classified staff that includes secretaries and custodians, said after the announcement by school board president Ivery Hood that district trustees recognized concerns of the staff.
A 5.1-percent increase for management while teachers and staff received a 3.5-percent increase left employees feeling undervalued, she said.
“They understand how it hurts,” Richards said.
Jeanette Wylie, representing the Travis Unified Teachers Association, said the management pay boost ended a more than 20-year tradition of equal increases for all employee groups.
“If they continued,” Wylie said, “it’s a slap in the face to every employee.”
Hood said at the start of the school board meeting that trustees will take up the measure to rescind the management pay hike at the next board meeting.
During the half-hour protest Tuesday, teachers dressed in orange and classified employees wearing blue chanted slogans opposing the pay increase for management.
Dwayne Adams, a sixth-grade teacher at Scandia Elementary, said it’s good leadership when management leads by example and provides workers the same opportunities afforded management.
“Take care of the troops,” Adams said. “They’ll take care of you.”
He said the last time he protested was 10 years ago over a pay issue and that the current management pay boost “kind of appeared out of nowhere.”
Robert Mattos, a lead custodian for the school district, has been on the negotiating team for 18 years and said he was surprised when Travis ended equal increases for all employee groups.
“We mostly have a new board,” Mattos said of trustees.
CSEA representative Richards told trustees during the school board meeting that management employees are not underpaid compared to districts of similar size in Dixon and Benicia.
“To compare us to Vacaville, Vallejo and Fairfield would not be fair,” Richards said.
Wylie, president of the teachers union, told trustees that during graduation few students would remember administrators making a difference in their lives. But students will recall teachers who influenced and encouraged them.
“Teachers are not worth less to the students,” she said.
Trustees were considering a $44 million budget while teachers have been saving the school district money each year because of salary cuts and increased class sizes, Wylie said.
Board president Hood said after the protest – and before his announcement that trustees will take up a measure to rescind the management pay hike – that he didn’t know that much about the 30-minute demonstration. He said he saw the gathering as he arrived and that the people involved in the protest didn’t pass along any messages to him.
“They really didn’t say anything to me,” Hood said.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.