I, too, would like to see local teachers get a pay raise. They deserve it. They’ve earned it. They have a right to negotiate for it.
There is just no money to offer more than the district can afford. The budget is built on dollars, not hopes, dreams and desires. I also refuse to believe there is a conspiracy at the district to hide money or lie to the community about its financial affairs.
Lucia Mar already pays a higher percentage of its budget to teachers than any of the surrounding districts. Over 90 percent of the budget goes to all salaries.
The reality is districts like San Luis Coastal and Santa Maria-Bonita are funded differently, and they receive thousands of dollars more per student than Lucia Mar.
And, sadly, the claim that the district is carrying $14 million in reserve is just not true.
Teachers have received over 6 percent in raises the past two years. Yes, they deserve more, and will undoubtedly get more this go around. I support teachers, but their expectations have to be tempered by the financial reality of the district.