Students, teachers align in support of wage raises in Ventura Unified School District


Haylie Williams

Buena Students rally in front of Ventura Government Center in support of wage raises for teachers Oct 21, 2022

Recent proposals and counter offers surrounding the negotiations of pay have raised tensions within the education community. Teachers, now asking for an 11.5% increase, are upset with the 3% they have been offered. Ventura Unified teachers are moving forward with their demands for higher pay during the current negotiation period backed by the support of community members, especially students. 

With inflation rising close to 8%, the 3% pay increase offered to teachers has been seen as a 5% pay cut, according to VUEA social media platforms. 

Student’s have taken it upon themselves to advocate for their teachers. A student walkout organized completely by the Buena student body took place Oct. 21, 2022. Hundreds of students left their fourth period classes 11 minutes after they began to signify the 11.5% pay increase the teachers are asking for. 

The movement calling for a walkout started with social media posts and spread like wildfire throughout the student body. 

“This [student walkout] is a way to let the district know that we care as well,” junior Sierra Engel said. “It is not just the teachers.” 

Buena students —freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors united— walked to the Ventura government center holding signs and cheering for their educators. They were met with honks of support and thumbs up from passing cars. 

“They [teachers] are the backbone of our education,” senior Jadyn Paz said. 

Although driven by different reasons, all students were in support of the same cause and message. 

“Lives have been changed by teachers, and the fact that the district doesn’t acknowledge that and the work that so many teachers put in is unfair,” Engel said. 

Ventura High School students also participated in their own student organized walkout. Leaving their fourth period classes 11 minutes in, students wore red and held signs as they walked to the front of their school to advocate for their beliefs relating to the situation. 

Some teachers have taken several actions recently to exemplify their feelings toward the situation. Educators across VUSD are wearing red, putting signs in their car windows and only working to their contracted hours. 

“They [teachers] are the backbone of our education,”

— Jadyn Paz

Only working to contracted hours means teachers are becoming unavailable during lunch, and during certain hours before and after school. In regular circumstances, teachers plan and grade assignments hours outside of their contracted hours, answering emails late into the night and communicating with parents and outside of school hours. This time could otherwise be spent in other areas of their lives. 

With tensions on the rise the word strike has been floating in the air. Although a strike could become a reality, the action must be preceded by a rigorous process in order to be legal. If a strike is what the teachers decide is necessary it must be approved by the state of California. This can be a long process taking up to several months.