A portrait series from the hyperlocal news site Richmond Confidential.
If you were superintendent of the West Contra Costa Unified School District, what would your top priority be?
Orlando Henry Escobar
“Más seguridad porque los niños tienen más drogas que información. Hay marihuana, cocaína, cigarrillos, y pastillas. Un joven de quince años murió de sobredosis de pastillas saliendo de la escuela. Ahí en la mera puerta se tiró al piso.”
“Hemos mirado niños fumando marihuana en el parque y nadie les dice nada. La policía tiene que ayudar. Eso es trabajo de los policías. Necesitamos más presencia de la policía cerca las escuelas”
Have you or will you get the new booster shot against the omicron variant?
Jorge Garcia
“Yes, because I heard in the news that people over 50 should get a 4th shot. I got my vaccine right here in the park. I think it's okay because it will make you better. I think they recommend it for a reason. If a person is not vaccinated they will go to the hospital. The Covid shot has become the new flu shot. If you are vaccinated it won’t hit you bad.”
“I don’t know why they don’t want to do it. Some people think they’re putting a chip in them. People think different things. But I think it's good to be protected. I have friends who died because they didn’t get the shot.”
Andrew Melendez
“I am. My father is immunocompromised. It’s really important in order to keep my family safe. It’s important for us all to do our part to keep our community safe. At the end of the day, it is a health issue. It’s important to keep each other safe.”
“I encourage everyone around me to get vaccinated so that they’re safe. It’s tough to see people with deep distrust in the vaccine. I am disappointed in their decision, but I also don’t want to impose my own medical beliefs. We can’t force people to get it so we can only encourage through positive reinforcement.”
What should be done to address the teacher shortage in the West Contra Costa Unified School District?
Sergio Zambrano
“Increase the salaries of those who deserve it, those who are qualified, so that they don’t leave. We also need it to help the economy.”
“There are schools here who are not in need of teachers but then there are schools who do need more instructors. There are preferences for some students over others.”
Duane Patton
“They need to come up with a plan to make it more affordable for teachers to live in the area where they serve. It’s hard to live on the current wage. If the salary is raised, that’ll definitely draw some attention.”
“Those guys in the NBA and NFL make a ton of money for entertainment. Our teachers should be making that money. They are teaching the future. It needs to be noticed that what they are doing is important. How important it is and how it actually touches lives. Teachers are super important.”
Edith Rodriguez
“Offer more benefits and increase their salaries. Some teachers need to commute from far and the price of gas is going up. The price of everything is going up, so their salaries should go up too.”
“They went to school to be able to teach. They go to school for so long to become teachers so they need the pay to match, to make it worth their investment. They should at least make as much as a construction worker, if not more. Being a teacher isn’t easy, it takes patience.”
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