District, teachers still at odds

Michael H. Pazeian
Mad River Union

MCKINLEYVILLE – The multipurpose room at McKinleyville High School was filled on Oct. 8 with proud and passionate people who love their schools and students. People were in attendance for a meeting of the Northern Humboldt Union High School District Board of Trustees. 

The main topic was the labor dispute between teachers and the district, which oversees Arcata and McKinleyville High schools, Pacific Coast High, Tsurai High and Six Rivers Charter High.

I asked Ilza Hakenen, a member of the teacher negotiating team about the Oct. 4 meeting with the district team. “It was a colossal waste of time,”  she said.

Steve Nystrom said, “We made an offer.” 

Teacher JoAnn Moore said, “We have had a great relationship with the District for 10-12 years.”

The teachers’ offer was a desire for a 1.85 percent pay increase. The State of California calculates the (COLA) cost of living increase each year (3.2 percent) and then increases that amount of money coming to the schools. So, the teachers are now asking for half of that increase in money. 

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The board did approve the nominations and voted to add three student reps to the board: Maritca Solano from McKinleyville High, Ty Vizenor from Arcata HS, and Emma Scott from Six Rivers HS.

During public comments many spoke from the heart:

JoAnn Moore said, “The district has the money.”

Steve Nystrom said, “We are not talking about a raise, we are talking about half of what the district got from the state.”

Jennifer Coriell said, “NoHum students deserve the best and I want to reopen my doors.”

A 26-year-veteran teacher, Susan Lovato, said “don’t do it for me, do give us this offer for our younger teachers, and the future teachers of our district.”

The board held a special meeting Saturday to discuss negotiations. 

The board will also meet on Monday, Oct. 21 from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m. at the district office, 2755 McKinleyville Ave. in McKinleyville.



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