The official Student News Site of Dublin High School.

The Dublin Shield

The official Student News Site of Dublin High School.

The Dublin Shield

The official Student News Site of Dublin High School.

The Dublin Shield

Dublin Students Rally Behind Teachers at School Board Meeting

Students+and+teachers+were+each+given+3+minutes+to+speak+to+the+district+during+public+comment.+
Students and teachers were each given 3 minutes to speak to the district during public comment.

Just days after the Dublin Unified School District (DUSD) announced that they would be offering guest teachers $600 in the event of a teacher strike, dozens of furious parents, educators, and students flocked to Tuesday’s Dublin Unified School District School Board meeting. Tensions ran high, with many attendees accusing Superintendent Chris Funk of prioritizing administrators over educators as the union and school district remain at odds over a proposed pay increase for teachers. 

 

Amidst a packed boardroom, with many attendees being turned away due to the room quickly reaching maximum capacity, Trustee Kristin Pelham, the board president, initially proposed reducing public comments from three to two minutes. However, she was overruled promptly by Trustee Dan Cherrier and the rest of the school board. 

 

Over 40 people spoke out in favor of the teachers during the first few hours of the meeting. As the discussions unfolded, several recurring themes became apparent. Accusations of the school board’s lack of integrity, frustration over the allocation of funds for “glorified babysitters,” and the cutting of music education programs around the district were all too common. None of the attendees spoke in opposition.

 

The community’s support for the teachers was unwavering, with many expressing their frustrations and calling for action. Ann Young, a Dublin teacher, noted, “Students have strong relationships with Dublin teachers: teachers CARE.”

 

Later, Marnie Santoyo, an English lead teacher at Wells, discussed her colleagues’ dedication and extra efforts, expressing, “Teachers going ABOVE & BEYOND and not getting paid. Every year, you tell us how important we are. After COVID, we’re ‘heroes,’ right? But those words aren’t backed by action.” She added, “We’re their family from 8:30 to 3:05, AND we’re vested in their success.”

 

Soon after, Giovanni Crotti, a science prep teacher, lamented the lack of communication and consultation with educators regarding essential decisions, stating, “We were never talked to, consulted… you did not do your due diligence with our stakeholders.”

 

Laurie Sargant, a veteran English teacher, criticized the district’s allocation of funds, highlighting a misalignment in priorities: “It’s amazing that the DUSD leaders and the board of education can budget for lawyers, excessive middle management positions, and ridiculous salaries for superintendents, but can’t figure out how to save the jobs of employees that work directly with and contribute to the success of our students.”

 

The meeting featured a handful of student testimonies, with Dublin High student Franklin Liu commenting, “Teaching is a noble profession; it should not be a noble sacrifice.” 

 

Vignesh Gannavarapu, another Dublin High student, remarked, “I want to direct your attention to a nursery rhyme called Ring Around the Rosie. It applies too well here. Your district. Ashes. Your students. Ashes. And you, teachers, the students, the district, we all fall down. 

 

It is important to note that, per the Brown Act, the board cannot respond directly to public comments during the meeting. As such, the Dublin Shield, in conjunction with the LA Times High School Insider, reached out to Chris Hobbs, the assistant superintendent of Business, and Heather Campos, the assistant superintendent of human resources, for comment on some of the most pressing issues discussed in Tuesday’s meeting. While neither provided a direct response, Chip Dehnert, the community relations director, offered some clarifications on behalf of the district. 

 

He noted, “Our own data shows that since the 2013-14 school year, salaries and benefits have increased by 42.5%, as compared to the COLA increasing by 30.82% and the CPI increasing by 34.85% over that same period. We value our teachers and other certified staff, which shows in their compensation.”

 

Regarding the district’s capability to pay guest teachers $600 per day in the event of a teacher strike, the communications director explained, “We will be able to afford to pay guest teachers because we will not be paying teachers for the time they are striking. We also don’t anticipate that if the DTA chooses to strike, we will need to replace all teachers who walk the picket line in a 1-to-1 ratio.”

 

It is important to note that at the time of this article’s release, the district and DTA have reached a tentative agreement outlining a 4.5% retroactive salary increase for teachers, a 1% salary increase for the upcoming school year, and a 0.5% salary increase for five additional Professional Development days. 

This is a developing story.

About the Contributor
Aakrisht Mehra, Layout Editor
Aakrisht Mehra is a junior at Dublin High School who is passionate about the intersectionality of ethicality, morality and the role it plays within society. He is also an avid debater and the co-chair of the Dublin Mayor's Council.