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In a 4-1 vote during the Sedona-Oak Creek School District Governing Board meeting on Monday, April 6, the board approved the salary schedule of district teachers — an advance that results in a nearly $1,000 per-year pay increase for beginning teachers.Zach Richardson, SOCSD board member, was the lone dissenting vote against a pay schedule that increases teacher salaries. Board member Zachary Richardson voted against new schedule raising teacher salaries.


Prior to the vote, Richardson said he would vote against the increase, saying that he felt it was too modest an improvement — that it would still would not result in a competitive wage for the district’s teachers.

“This year our district is losing some of our best educators due to low compensation. We all need to view this loss as a wake-up call,” Richardson said. “Though [Sedona-Oak Creek School District Superintendent Dave] Lykins works very hard to improve the pay schedule, I do not think the increases have been enough.

“When teacher salaries are created, we tend to forget that the schools and the buses and the classrooms are useless without teachers, so I think we need to look at this a bit differently.

“As I said, I’m not going to vote for the contracts or the pay schedule because I don’t think the teachers are getting paid enough, and I think that needs to change. We need to change our culture.”

Richardson proposed looking at teacher salaries as the first priority, establishing a competitive wage before examining the rest of the district’s budgetary concerns.

Board member John D. Miller asked Richardson what he thought to accomplish with a vote against the increase.

“Zach, what happens if we don’t approve the budget?” Miller said. “I understand the teachers aren’t paid enough …. We are fighting over scraps here …. But Zach, I don’t think voting against the salary schedule we have is anything but a protest vote. I don’t think you have the answer to what we could support.”

“Yes, it’s a protest,” Richardson answered.

To read the full story, see the Wednesday, April 8, edition of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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