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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Early results show parcel tax headed to narrow victory; teachers continue to campaign for pay raise

Lauren Taylor
During the rally on May 15, dozens of teachers carried signs in support of district educators ­— French teacher Elaine Haggerty (left) and Spanish teacher Stephany Marks (right).

Measure A — a ballot measure to extend and supplement an existing parcel tax — appeared to be on its way to a narrow victory, though election officials had not made an official call as of May 23 when The Falcon went to the printer. 

To pass, a clear two-thirds majority vote is required. The tax, extending the current parcel tax of $49 to $128, will be in place for nine years if approved. Mail-in ballots were due May 7 and followed a pro Measure A campaign by parents and teachers.

“We are very hopeful that Measure A will pass but we don’t have a prediction on the outcome,” public information officer Tanya De La Cruz said. 

The votes were initially counted on May 13, and of the 10,603 ballots counted, 7,182 (67.74%) supported the parcel tax and 3,421 (32.26%) opposed the parcel tax. As of May 20 — after the addition of newly verified ballots — 7,799 (66.73%) of the submitted ballots were in favor of the parcel tax while 3,888 (33.27%) opposed the parcel tax. Still, the count is subject to change as both Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties are verifying more cured votes — ballots that, for example, may have been submitted without a signature and must be mailed back to the sender to validate their vote.  

With the margin so slim, each vote matters, including the cured votes. Currently, the Registrar of Voters in both Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties — the two counties that LGSUHSD serves — plan to release an official statement on June 6.

Supporters said the passing of Measure A would benefit the school district  by helping to attract and retain highly qualified teachers and school staff — employees advocates say have been leaving for higher-paying districts in recent years. 

The passing of the parcel tax could directly translate into a possible increase in funding for teachers’ salaries, which have fallen relative to other comparable districts in recent years. 

Courtesy of DTA Instagram

While district’s administrators’ salaries are competitive to others’ in the Bay Area, teachers’ salaries have been lagging behind.

Since early 2024, the District Teachers’ Association (DTA) has been holding negotiations with district representatives to negotiate on teachers’ salaries and a variety of other issues such as the number of working days in a year, caps on class sizes, extra pay for coaches of teams who make it into playoffs and high-quality special education services. While the DTA’s initial proposal was a 13% raise increase, the district initially countered with a proposal of a 1% salary increase, citing concerns over not going into deficit  spending. Since then, the sides have come closer to reaching settling on salaries but had not done so late into the spring.

“I don’t think it’s a secret or a surprise that our teachers go above and beyond for our students on a regular basis,” DTA president Jennifer Young said during the public comment section of the LGSUHSD May 7 Board meeting. “However, our district is not keeping the pace with other districts nearby.”

As of May 20, the two parties signed their first tentative agreements on management rights and bereavement leave. 

As the parcel tax has been brought up and is being voted on, however, the negotiations on salaries have been put on hold by district negotiators as the district confirms the budget it will have for ‘24-’25 after the parcel tax passes or fails. 

Still, the DTA continues students and community members to continue supporting the teachers’ call for higher salaries.

“Even if the parcel tax passes, the 2% [counter] raise offered by the district is not enough to make a difference without additional compensation allocated from our budget,” Young said during the May 7 board meeting.

Courtesy of DTA Instagram

The proportion of the district’s total budget being allocated to teachers has dropped in recent years.

On May 15, dozens of teachers from both Saratoga and Los Gatos High Schools rallied in front of the schools and carried signs reading “HONK if you support Teachers” and “LET’S KEEP OUR SCHOOLS GREAT!” as they sought to garner support from students and parents. 

In the May 7 meeting, Los Gatos teacher Thad Smith asked the board: “Do you feel that our teachers are true professionals? Do you feel true professionals should be justly compensated for the creativity and effort put forth on behalf of the students in our community? Are we not worthy as classroom teachers?”

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