Lafayette teachers hold informational picket amid pay dispute

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Thursday, September 14, 2023
Lafayette teachers picket amid pay dispute
Only weeks into the school year, teachers at the Lafayette School District are holding an informational picket to demand better pay.

LAFAYETTE, Calif. (KGO) -- Only weeks into the school year, teachers at the Lafayette School District are holding an informational picket to demand better pay.

It's happening Wednesday before school and after school at every school campus.

"Now they're the lowest paid district in the county and even if we account for the raise that the district is currently offering us, we will still fall below those within our immediate area of Lamorinda," said Lindsay McCormick, a reading specialist for Lafayette Elementary School.

The Lafayette Education Association says they've been negotiating a contract with the district since March of last year, declining their final offer of a 12% raise on their salary schedule.

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While the teachers are not on strike, they say they're nearing an impasse.

"Really what's happening is we're losing teachers and we're not retaining our qualified teachers, and we're not attracting new teachers because our salary schedule isn't competitive with those in Orinda, in Moraga, in neighboring communities," said Kristi Gingrich president of the Lafayette Education Association.

McCormick, who is in her fourth year with the district, is calling for change after seeing her colleagues make tough lifestyle compromises amid a rising cost of living.

"Having teachers who have second jobs, third jobs, living farther away and commuting in," she said. "If you look at the poverty level for Contra Costa County, a single teacher is making under that."

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And union leaders say, despite the district being in one of the wealthiest zip codes in the Bay Area, their pay remains among the lowest.

"We just want to hire and retain quality teachers so that our schools can continue to thrive and our students continue to thrive," Gingrich said.

In a statement to ABC7 News, the Lafayette School District said, in part:

"The Lafayette School District deeply values our staff and is committed to providing all employees with competitive compensation in order to attract and retain outstanding teachers. In keeping with this commitment, the District made a 12% ofter last week to the Lafayette Education Association. The District's offer ensures that all teachers receive a minimum raise of 12%, that new and veteran teachers receive additional compensation through extra salary increases on both the top and bottom of our salary schedule, and that all teachers are fully rewarded for their years of teaching experience in any district."

The school district said it looks forward to ongoing dialogue with the teacher's union.

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