Support parcel tax for teachers

As a former classroom teacher, I want to share why I support Measure A, the parcel tax proposed to raise Alameda teacher salaries. I say I’m a former classroom teacher, which is a difficult way for me to describe myself, as I miss being in the classroom every day. But I simply can’t afford it. Teachers almost everywhere are struggling financially, but when you add in the cost of living in the Bay Area, it’s almost impossible, and Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) teachers are some of the lowest paid around.

When teachers can’t afford to live where they teach, they face difficult decisions. Many of them commute from Stockton, Tracy or further, which means they have less time and energy to spend on their students and burn out much more quickly. Others leave the district, or even leave the profession entirely. 

In addition, I personally know a number of AUSD teachers who are on the brink of leaving as well as some excellent teachers who live in Alameda but can’t afford to work here. Our students — and families — are missing out on a better education because of this.

In addition to voting for Measure A, I’d like to strongly encourage everyone to contact their state representatives. The funding for California schools is broken and inadequate. All districts need to pay teachers more, fully fund classrooms and provide mental health resources to students and teachers alike. Our legislators need to understand that education must be a priority in California.

Quality education benefits absolutely everyone in a community, and we have a chance to show that Alameda values teachers and students. I urge everyone to both vote for Measure A on March 3, and to contact our state legislators and demand better funding for public education. Our kids are worth it.


Bronwyn Harris, Alameda resident and educator