OPINION: Compensate Our Teachers with Fair Raises, Not Petty Perks

Posted on January 31, 2024 by EDITORIAL BOARD

Tomorrow the 9th round of salary negotiations is scheduled to take place between Santa Rosa County District Schools and Santa Rosa Professional Educators teachers union. These bargaining sessions have been taking place for more than five months, and teachers can’t get money the state has allocated for their raises until there is a ratified, board-approved contract. 

What’s the hold up? It seems district admins aren’t listening to what nearly 96% of the 1,444 teachers who recently took a Santa Rosa Professional Educators survey are saying: 1,396 want a better raise instead of working remotely on planning days.

Nearly 3 out of every 4 teachers, or ~74.4% of district’s roughly 2,000 teachers, took time to participate in the survey. 

Those results also show 1,290 of survey participants say they’re not satisfied with Superintendent Karen Barber’s current offer to give them a 1.25% pay increase from discretionary funds, plus allow them to work remotely on teacher planning days, on top of the 1.80% increase being funded by the state. SRPE President David Godwin says the state money is intended to enhance, not supplant the district money.

Our teachers, the ones actually working with students inside classrooms, earning the district’s high-performance ratings, have seen their take-home pay eroded by increased insurance premiums. For example, one particular teacher is bringing home 7.6% less today than 2 years ago due to the insurance hike.

Many teachers I know must work second jobs just to pay bills, so I implore district admins to send a fair offer to tomorrow’s bargaining session.

What’s fair? Non-instructional employees were offered a 3.06% increase from the district’s discretionary funds. Offer that to teachers, too, instead of 1.25% plus working remotely on teacher planning days. What a petty perk that reminds me of rewarding teachers with passes to wear jeans to work (yes, that still happens).

“My mortgage company does not accept remote planning as a type of payment,” stated one teacher in the survey comment section. “Offering remote days is a joke and a slap in the face to teachers,” stated another.

Here’s an overview of survey results, and a link to the entire results follows at the bottom:

QUESTION 1: Are you satisfied with the Superintendent’s current offer of a 1.25% salary increase from discretionary funds? *a 1.80% increase from the legislature’s Teacher Salary Increase Allocation (TSIA) will be added to the negotiated increase from discretionary funds.

  • No – 1290 
  • Yes – 59 
  • Neutral – 95 

QUESTION 2: Do you want remote planning days? Or do you want a better raise?

  • Better raise – 1386 
  • Remote planning days – 34
  • Neutral – 24

QUESTION 3: How confident are you that your current Superintendent puts educators first in negotiations?

  • Very Confident – 48          
  • Somewhat Confident – 64          
  • Neutral – 218
  • Not Confident – 715       
  • Wish there were a different Superintendent – 399       


  • “After taxes and insurance, I make approximately $36,000 a year!”
  • “Current Superintendent when campaigning said she would get rid of unnecessary administrative positions, instead she has added more and demands more from teachers”
  • “I felt insulted by the offer of remote planning. The expectations placed on teachers in SRC compared to the pay is wild and makes no sense. Thank you SRPE for fighting for teachers. I never knew it would be a battle every single year to fight for a livable wage.”
  • “All we hear is how we are ‘appreciated’ but when it comes time to show that ‘appreciation,’ it takes almost a whole school year of battling. They have never once just up front offered a genuine offer that was fair to us all. What they are offering doesn’t come close to what we have lost in premiums and inflation!!! However, they continue to keep piling it on us in times of expectations. Put your money where your mouth is!!!”
  • “Giving us remote planning days is a joke. We use those days to actually plan and get our rooms ready. Telling us that’s what we get is a joke. I’d like to see how much their salaries are and if they struggle to put food on their table for their family.”