On April 26, Assembly Bill 938 was introduced by California Assemblymember, Al Muratsuchi (D–Torrance) and if passed, the bill will raise teacher and school staff pay by 50% by 2030.
According to Muratsuchi, this bill will establish funding targets by creating a state Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). The goal is to increase the LCFF grant within a seven-year period by 50%. School districts will need to report their progress to see if they are meeting the desired percentage increase.
AB 938 has support from different education associations including the California School Employees Association (CSEA). California Teachers Association (CTA) and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) are also in support of the bill.
Toby Boyd, president of CTA said, there is a shortage crisis in teachers and school employees. According to the AB 938 press release, it is difficult for school districts to retain and recruit teachers due to the unfair compensation for their work.
Erika Pruitt, an administration attendance clerk at Cleminson Elementary School, has worked for the El Monte School District for four years. She said she enjoys her job and working with kids.
Pruitt said she believes school staff deserve a raise. She said there is a shortage of staff district-wide where she works.
“It would be great,” Pruitt said. “There is a lot that people don’t see that goes on behind the scenes at the schools.”
Natalie Ramirez, a paraeducator at Victor Valley High School, works with kids with moderate to severe special needs.
“Some days are hard, but it’s a good job,” Ramirez said.
Though she has only worked in a school setting for two weeks, Ramirez said she feels school staff is underpaid for the work they do.
Jeff Freitas, the president of CFT, said AB 938 is an investment in the communities, students and schools. According to the AB 938 press release, Freitas said there needs to be solutions to retain teachers and staff in addition to attracting new talent.
Vanessa Urquizo, a mentor and tutor at Fremont Academy of Engineering and Design, said she has worked in different schools for the last four years. She is also a youth leader at Emerson Middle School.
She said it is important for there to be a higher increase in pay for people who work with kids. She said some people will choose a higher-paying job rather than having a fulfilling job experience, especially living in California.
“It’s a rewarding experience, but the positions that I work in right now are underpaid,” Urquizo said.
Urquizo said her long-term goal is to become an elementary school teacher. She plans to get her master’s and teacher credentials. She said there are days that are tough, but it feels great seeing the students grow up.
“The rough days are overshadowed by the positive ones when I make those connections with them,” Urquizo said.
Gabby Lane, an instructional aide of early childhood at Covina Valley Children’s Center, said she has been working at the school for six years.
“I come from a long line of educators, principals, teachers and administrators,” Lane said.
Lane is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in education and integrated studies from Cal Poly Pomona next spring. She said she wanted to be a teacher, but now she plans to become a school counselor.
She said for what school staff and teachers go through by devoting their lives to education and children, they should be paid more.
“They’re shaping the kids’ futures and it takes a lot,” Lane said.
Amy Alcantara can be reached at email@example.com.