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Give Striking Teachers the Raise They Deserve

June 09, 2002

Re "Fourth Teacher Sickout at Capistrano Unified," May 31:

The callous and cynical disregard of the Capistrano Unified School District's superintendent and Board of Trustees for teachers is resonant in the words of their spokesman, David Smollar. Seeking fair remuneration is no "game," and picketing and demonstrating are not "fun." The district's delay in passing through money already paid to it by the state has made us angry. We teachers have asked for very little--a 2.5% raise--but the administration has given us nothing.

Supt. James A. Fleming, in a letter sent to parents of our students, labels us "greedy." But he avidly accepts a salary of $185,000--only $10,000 less than that of the mayor of New York--plus thousands more in annual housing and vehicle allowances. While Fleming asserts there is no money for teachers, he cashes the checks from the state and plans new district offices. Meanwhile, the teachers, who have propelled this district to the top in student performance in California, work for salaries that are below the median in Orange County. Teaching is my calling, my career and my livelihood. I am good at it and I deserve to be well-paid for it.

Linda Yeargin

San Clemente

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Recently, many schools in the Capistrano Unified district were plagued with a barrage of sickouts by teachers protesting an unfair district decision not to increase teacher salaries in proportion to inflation. The major problem I have with the district's decision is that the teachers are simply requesting a pay increase that would mirror the inflation that is affecting our whole economy.

These teachers have not chosen their profession for the money, and shouldn't be seen as selfish. They do a difficult and sometimes unrewarding job, and they should be paid appropriately. They have helped us students numerous times, so I am urging all of you to support them in their struggle.

Chigozie Amadi

Laguna Niguel

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Teachers at Dana Hills High School staged a strike, or--cough--a sick day. In support of these teachers, some students did not come to school. Many people might say that, of course, the students would take this opportunity for a ditch day, and not take this sign of support seriously. But many of these students actually were trying to make a point.

With only two weeks until finals, each class period becomes more important, and it hurts students when they do not come to class. Also, many of the students that did not come to school were the honor students, who supposedly care more than anyone else about their grades.

Some students really do care about their teachers and the way they are being treated, or, in this case, mistreated. Every student has had at least one good teacher who made some sort of an impact, as well as more than one extremely hard-working teacher.

The last people who should be treated with lack of appreciation are teachers. For these reasons, students at Dana Hills also decided to strike.

Gillian Ayres

Dana Point

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