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The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

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Teachers union and district file for impasse, board rally tomorrow

Motoko Iwata
Alicia Szebert discusses the assigned chemistry problems with sophomore Jake Liu during work time. Szebert, a Palo Alto High School chemistry teacher and PAEA member, supports the union’s efforts to increase teachers’ pay. Daniel Nguyen, a math teacher and site representative for the PAEA, shares Szebert’s perspective. “I think it’s important that teachers get paid,” Nguyen said. “We want to work with the best and to recruit the best.”

PAEA President Teri Baldwin said that under discussion is the 2023-24 school year contract, including a possible adjustment to teachers’ salary for the 2024-25 school year if the PAEA and district decide on a two year agreement.

In a statement, union leaders said the district rejected their proposals, citing costs, despite an extra $135 million in reserves that is growing each year.

According to Don Austin, superintendent of the Palo Alto Unified School District, the decision to file for impasse came after several meetings and discussions between the teachers union and district.

“PAUSD and PAEA have spent over 50 hours together and have settled many parts of negotiations this year,” Austin said in an email to The Paly Voice. “Those pieces, called ‘Tentative Agreements’ are outlined on our webpage. This includes $10,000 stipends for elementary school combination class teachers, additional preparation periods for secondary special education co-teaching teachers… , class size reduction at the 10th grade level, and some other things.”

According to Daniel Nguyen, Palo Alto High School site union representative and math teacher, impasse is where the district and PAEA are too far apart to come up with an agreement on our own.

“As a result, the state is sending a mediator to help with negotiations.” Nguyen said.

 The first meeting with mediators will be Monday, April 29.

According to Baldwin the PAEA and district are in unfamiliar territory, with the last impasse happening 15 years ago.

“We have not gone through this process in a long time,” Baldwin said in an email to The Paly Voice.  “We will have to see how this will affect decisions moving forward. We hope that this shows the district that they have to listen to teacher and student needs as they make decisions in the future.”

Union members said the frustrations surrounding funding of school programs are also what have fueled the standstill. The PAEA helps revise funding of programs across the public school system every year.

According to Baldwin desired revisions include new schools, school bus replacements and mental health services.

“Through this process, teachers will be organizing various actions to show the district that we are serious and committed to our students,” Baldwin said. “We hope that students, parents and the community will join us to advocate for the teachers our students deserve.”

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About the Contributors
Ava Knapp
Ava Knapp, News Editor
Ava Knapp (Class of 2026) joined The Paly Voice her sophomore year. She does cross country/track and field and plays the piano.
Motoko Iwata
Motoko Iwata, Opinion/Editorial Editor
Motoko Iwata (Class of 2026) joined The Voice in her sophomore year. At Paly, she does badminton and debate. In her free time, Motoko enjoys spending time with her friends and reading about current events.

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