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California students stand in solidarity with teachers for higher pay

<i>KSBW</i><br/>Many districts are relying on substitute teachers to fill the gap
Many districts are relying on substitute teachers to fill the gap

By Ariana Jaso

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    WATSONVILLE, California (KSBW) — Teachers across the nation, including here on the Central Coast, are calling for better pay. In Watsonville on Wednesday, it was a packed room during a board meeting for the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, with students who showed up in support of their teachers. Many people wore shirts and held signs, making their message clear.

During public comment, Watsonville High School senior Yesenia Diaz said, “It’s time for students and teachers to get what they deserve. Thank you.”

Nelly Vaquera-Boggs, president of the Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers Union, says starting pay for high school teachers in the district $50,000. The union wants the district to raise the starting salary by 14%. Vaquera-Boggs says low pay is one of the leading causes of the teacher shortage.

“So, on our end, $50,000 a year, in the second most expensive area to live in the nation, is a very tough amount of money to earn it. Many of them are going and heading out to another job and working in the evenings,” Vaquera-Boggs said.

Many districts are relying on substitute teachers to fill the gap, which students point out impacts their education.

“It started becoming an issue once we had to make up the classes for it. We realized it wasn’t really fair because it’s not our fault that we don’t have teachers. We can’t control that. We’re just students,” Diaz said.

Action News 8 reached out to the Pajaro Valley Unified School District for comment, their spokesperson would not do an on-camera interview but did give a statement— “Salary, as you are aware, is a negotiations piece and any agreements reaching negotiations will be shared with the public when they are available.”

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