Expect Tuesday night’s El Paso Independent School Board meeting to be swimming in red. A group of teachers are lobbying board trustees for several things they say have been overlooked for too long.
Leaders from the El Paso Teacher’s Association tell KTSM they’ve asked the teachers they represent to wear red and show up to this evening’s board meeting to support the “Red for Ed” movement. The movement has seen recent success in Arizona after the Governor signed an education bill in the wake of teacher walkouts.
Norma De La Rosa, President of the Teacher’s Association, says teachers are going on six years without any significant raises.
“They’ve not seen a decent wage increase in the past five, six years but have seen health premiums go up five to nine percent,” De La Rosa told KTSM.
Tuesday’s EPISD’s Board Meeting calls for millions of spending approval for their fiscal budget.
De La Rosa says it’s hurting teacher morale. “What we’re hearing is that the board and the district is looking at only a one percent pay increase in a salary package for our employees next year at the mid point,” she said. “Well, for a lot of our teacher’s most are probably going to see less money going home next year in their paychecks than even this year because of the increase in TRS Healthcare premiums”
The district is looking at a $7 million dollar budget shortfall and are expecting more than a thousand fewer students enrolled next year. De La Rosa adds that for that reason alone, the board should focus on spending on teachers and students instead of things like furniture.
“Central Office currently has a lot of furniture it already has so I guess my first question would be what does central office plan to do with the furniture it already has.” said De La Rosa.
El Paso ISD is not seeing teachers walk out of classrooms like Arizona. That’s mostly attributed to the fact that Texas is a Right to Work State, which makes walkouts unlikely.
“We would not want any of our teachers to lose certification or anything else because we did something that was illegal,” she said.
What’s clear is that members of the El Paso Teacher’s Association are hoping to send a clear message to EPISD Tuesday night. “We need to start to prioritize what is important first and that is our kids,” De La Rosa explained.
The Association presented a teacher salary raise of six percent in March, the Board returned with a one percent increase offer.
Tonight’s Board Meeting starts at 5 p.m. at El Paso ISD Central Office located at 6531 Boeing Drive.