"I'm excited that the money is there," said Crescenta Valley High School Teacher Sherry Taylor. "We've had a lot of lean years."
Freemon said teachers have been continuously short-changed in salary and health benefits. The teachers' union has tried going on television programs, calling phone banks, writing to newspapers and supporting elected officials to raise money for teachers' benefits, Freemon said.
"You are the backbone of the program," said Board of Education President Chuck Sambar to the audience of teachers, adding that one of the guiding principles of the board is to ensure long-term success for the Glendale Unified School District.
The increased funds were approved in June, prompting a $14 million increase in the district's budget. Freemon said that of the $14 million, $12.3 million are unrestricted funds that the district may use in any way. An additional $4 million in one-time-only funds is earmarked to be allotted according to the state, he said.
Freemon also reminded the board that teachers have not received the industry standard of 85% of the budget for their salaries and health benefits.
But in response, Supt. Michael Escalante said teachers' salaries have kept pace.
"We have exceeded that 85% rule," Supt. Michael Escalante said.
Contract negotiations will begin Oct. 31, Freemon said.
"They budgeted 85% but only spent 80%," said Steven Field, bargaining chair and treasurer for the Glendale Teachers Assn. "We're asking them to spend."
The Glendale Teachers Assn. has 1,400 members from the Glendale Unified School District.