The Riverbank Teachers Association (RTA) and the Riverbank Unified School District have not been able to come to an agreement on the teacher contracts for a salary increase for the 2015-16 school year.
There was a school board meeting that was planned at Riverbank High School in the gym due to the request from the teachers to accommodate parents, community members, and teachers on Tuesday, March 8 at 5:30 p.m. This meeting was held after the Riverbank News went to press. Look for updated information in the March 16 issue regarding the session.
“We repeatedly asked (six times, two verbal, four in writing) the board to hold the meeting in a bigger place,” stated Richard Beatty, California Avenue teacher and RTA Organizing Chair.
Since the meeting was moved to RHS teachers and parents were asked to rally in front of the gymnasium at 5 p.m.
On Friday, March 4 the RTA held a parent-teacher meeting at the Masonic Lodge to inform parents of the situation and answer any questions they may have.
“I’d say the meeting went very well,” said Beatty. “Essentially, parents were very engaged and wanted to know how to help.”
Beatty presented a speech to the parents that attended the meeting. He explained why teachers are wearing black shirts and carrying signs – due to failed negotiations with RUSD.
“Right now there is a teacher shortage in California,” stated Beatty in his speech. “Other Districts are doing things to attract teachers. Riverbank seems to be trying to push teachers away. Riverbank ranked as one of the lowest in teacher satisfaction in the whole county. Riverbank doesn’t seem to value teacher input in classroom practices. They don’t respect teachers in meetings and negotiations. Teachers feel their voices are not being heard when they tell the District what they need to teach the students in their classrooms.”
He also explained to the parents that Riverbank has the lowest in pay increases since 2012 ranking them at the bottom of the salary and compensation in the county, adding that unhappy teachers will likely try to find jobs where they will be appreciated for the work they do.
“This exodus of teachers will turn Riverbank schools into a training ground,” said Beatty. “As quality teachers leave ... new, inexperienced teachers will be hired to replace them … if replacements can be found.”
In a Facebook post by the RTA, a statement was made that teachers are feeling they are the targets of blatant disrespect by the School Board and District Administrators, pointing out that they requested to give a presentation at the school board meeting on Tuesday for the public. The request was approved and added to the agenda; however, it was listed at the end of the agenda as opposed to the beginning, when the majority of presentations are traditionally given.