Voice: Teachers deserve to be treated like professionals

April 13, 2001

Our governor allocated millions of dollars to be distributed to school districts throughout the state. Most school districts took Gray Davis at his word when he said that the moneys were discretionary but should go toward bolstering teacher salaries.

Has this happened in El Centro? No! Dr. Klentschy and/or the school board have seen fit to hold the money hostage. He has been telling all those who will listen that there is no money to pay the teachers what they are asking.

My question to him is where has the money gone? It is public knowledge the administrators in the elementary district were given a raise last spring and had their insurance covered. Last month these same administrators were given a 5 percent raise that was retroactive to last July. Rumor has it that a large amount of money has been transferred into the building fund (perhaps a new school district office is in the works). New Open Court textbooks K-3 have been purchased and already delivered to many El Centro schools to be used next school year. A high-priced out-of-town attorney is paid to conduct the official negotiating for the school board.


Why does Dr. Klentschy attend so many out-of-state "mandatory" meetings each month? Part of what has been touted as a raise for the teachers includes three additional working days. How does adding three working days to the teachers' contract days constitute a raise? If you work, shouldn't you be paid for the time? These are some of the issues that should be addressed.

The present teachers' contract has been in existence for approximately 25 years, with little change and few complaints. Teachers are professionals. Would you even think of questioning a doctor or lawyer as to the time he/she needs to adequately perform his/her job? No! So why are teachers any less a professional? The majority work above and beyond the school day.

If we judge a professional by the amount of money he/she earns, then of course those in the teaching profession will not qualify. But our future, in the form of today's children, lies in the hands of the teacher. Each and every one deserves all they ask and more. Respect, a decent standard of living and a policy of goodwill should not be too much to ask for from Dr. Klentschy and the El Centro Elementary School District board.

Settle the contract. Teachers deserve a fair deal.


El Centro

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