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With the Legislative session over and the budget settled, APS and ATF will soon start negotiations. Some things are obvious topics of negotiations: Salary increases that incorporate the average 6% and the four added days of work. We must also set the terms for how time is used on the modified Wednesday for elementary and middle schools.
Public school districts are still coping with decades of divestment. Unfortunately, this year we didn’t make much progress in getting the discretionary money we need and deserve. One of our goals during this session and many past sessions was to lobby for an increase in the State Equalization Guarantee (SEG) formula. Sufficient funding of the SEG allows us to negotiate with APS about local programs and priorities.
As we have explained many times, one of our long-term priorities has been salary differentials. Most, if not all, of differentials are significantly outdated and inadequate for the crucial work educators do engaging and connecting with students. Band directors, coaches, speech and debate team leaders, department chairs, head special education teachers, orchestra teachers and many more co-curricular and extra-curricular roles are essential in our schools.
Schooling is more than teaching. Schooling is made up of many enriching experiences designed for students. Additionally, teaching is not all that teachers do in school. We have many leadership roles, and you take on a multitude of responsibilities that keep our schools running smoothly and our students engaged. Co-curricular and extra-curricular activities build relationships and keep students plugged into their schools. Participation in extra-curricular activities in high school can benefit students who are disadvantaged and/or come from low socioeconomic status. These are students who are not always well served by traditional educational programs. They tend to have fewer enrichment opportunities outside of school than their more advantaged and affluent peers.