District issues continue in wake of protests

By Alex Hays

Controversy has been a constant in the SRCS community as of late, with recent problems such as a lack of staff, oversized classes, and most importantly, no incentive to stay within the SRCS district. Many of these problems have been relevant since last year and have still not been solved.
These issues were brought up once again at a recent SRCS board meeting, which took place on Wednesday, August 23, 2017. Many teachers of SRCS and members of the SRTA spoke on these issues, among which were former SRTA vice-president and history teacher at Santa Rosa High School John Cortopassi, and current president William Lyon.
Santa Rosa High School has had to deal with a lack of staff members since the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. Cortopassi spoke on this issue saying that “at Santa Rosa High School this year we started minus a science teacher, a history teacher, a drama teachewr, a woodshop teacher, both attendance clerks and minus a vice principal. Do we have a problem with attract and retain? I think the answer is pretty clear, enough is enough.”
This issue of “Attract-and-Retain” affects both students and teachers negatively. The “Attract-and-Retain” situation means that SRCS is able to attract new teachers and staff, however they are unable to hold onto these teachers for extended periods of time. The district fails to keep teachers which can result in teachers having far overcrowded classrooms.
Class size has been a problem ever since the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. This problem affects both teachers and students, however, the people it affects most are freshmen. Kristen Reid, a Montgomery High School teacher spoke about her freshman classes saying, “How do I give them all the support, encouragement, firmness, compassion, and opportunity that they deserve when there are 34 14-year-olds in the room?” She elaborated further, saying, “The situation is a direct result of the district’s practice of allocating sections based on the maximum number of students a teacher can have. This prioritizes dollars over teachers, dollars over students.”
One of the largest issues facing our district is the poor health care plan that our teachers are provided with. This absence of compensation threatens our teachers careers, their well-beings and the future of our entire district. Lyon spoke on this problem claiming, “Why are they leaving? It’s healthcare.” Lyon’s presentation showcased the differences in health care plans between districts like Windsor, Roseland, and Cloverdale. The contribution towards healthcare for SRCS is only $2,500 annually (40th of 40 in Sonoma County). The 39th ranked, Cloverdale, has a healthcare plan more than triple that of SRCS at $7,500 yearly.
If these problems are not fixed soon, the repercussions will be destructive to the education of our students and the future of our educators.
As a student, I’m disappointed to see the poor decisions that the SRCS school board has made, and it saddens me to see how poorly the teachers that have taught me so much are being treated. I hope to see the issues that endanger our education fixed as soon as possible no matter the monetary cost or sacrifice that the school board will have to make.

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