Teachers' Personal Messages

"My family and I have lived in Petaluma since 2005. My husband and I both work full time and are raising three children here. The cost of living in Sonoma County has skyrocketed and our salaries have remained flat, which makes raising a family here very challenging at times. We are working towards owning a home in Petaluma that we can raise our family in, but so far this has not been possible." -Mrs. Tara Geoghegan, 2nd grade teacher

"Because our district contribution to health care coverage is so low, I pay $1,700 out of pocket each month for medical care. While many other teachers are taking risks by getting lower coverage with higher deductibles because of this outlandish cost, I cannot afford to do that because my daughter is a Type 1 Diabetic. It is my hope that the district will increase the medical cap and our salaries because this cost puts a great strain on my family." -Mrs. Robin Johnson, 5/6 teacher

"I personally choose the catastrophic insurance plan because the district covers so little of the premium that I cannot afford proper coverage. Because it costs $130 for a doctor's visit and $90 for routine blood work under this plan, I simply don't go when I should. No teacher in this country should be avoiding health care when they need it because it's unattainable for them." - Mrs. Janice Garrigan, 4th grade teacher

"All year long I work two jobs, not just summer time. The cost of living has dramatically risen forcing us to continue to keep cutting back on expenses, but we are at the point where we can't cut anything anymore. We don't have cable, we don't have a gym membership, we don't have our kids in sports, and weekend entertainment is often non-existent. Gas prices are on the rise, as is healthcare costs, food, and my rent. It saddens me deeply, that perhaps sooner than later, we may be forced out of Sonoma County because we can't afford to live here. I never once thought I'd be facing this decision, especially when I have poured countless hours into my education to be where I am. I love working at Wilson and my kids love Wilson as their school. We hope to continue to call Wilson our "home" for many more years.

-Mrs. Diva Shinzato, Kindergarten teacher

"I would like to add that I work in the summer to supplement my income as a family of 4 living in Sonoma County and to help support my children with their higher education." -Mrs. Susie Clark, K/1 teacher

"Teaching is a passion of mine and I love our Wilson community. I am definitely not in this career for the money, but I was quite astonished to find out we are paid 25% below the average California teacher. We live in a very pricey area and I am content in my small duplex. However, nearly 44% of my paycheck goes to my rent alone. I feel it is only fair that we are paid closer to the average California teacher to keep up with our cost of living." -Ms. Adrienne Korbel, TK teacher

"Teaching is a calling. We teach because we love children and know that each child has enormous promise and potential. Yet despite the profound importance of our work, basics such as home ownership are out of reach for many teachers like me in Sonoma County. We need to be able to have such fundamental securities within our reach. We need to be recognized for what our work is worth for the future of our children, our community, and our country." -Mrs. Jama Bruce, 1st grade teacher