New Brighton Middle School teachers Melissa Walding and Michelle Bell.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: A raise for Soquel Union teachers and welcoming back the monarchs

Hiya, Lookouters! It’s Tuesday, Aug. 9, and clouds will give way to sun around Santa Cruz County as the day progresses, with temperatures headed for the 70s and 80s.

School starts Wednesday for many local students, including in the Soquel Union Elementary School District — and teachers there are set to get a raise after striking a deal with the district, Hillary Ojeda reports. The move comes after months of negotiations and pressure from parents seeking more for educators who have been among the county’s lowest-paid.

Over on the Westside, Natural Bridges State Beach is getting ready for the return of monarch butterflies, and in a Community Voices opinion piece, writer Claudia Sternbach reminisces about seeing them over the years and urges us to do what we can to welcome them here.

I’ve also got the latest local COVID data and news about the FBI raiding former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate, so let’s get to Tuesday’s headlines.

Soquel Union district teachers, among lowest-paid in Santa Cruz County, gain 15% raise

New Brighton Middle School teachers Melissa Walding and Michelle Bell.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Teachers bargained and parents complained. After months of negotiation, the district and teachers within the Soquel Union Elementary School District have agreed to a new contract thanks to a boost from the state budget. Midcareer teachers should see a jump in pay to about $73,000 a year from $64,000, somewhat easing affordability pressures. Hillary Ojeda has the details.

PREVIOUSLY: Petition in hand, Soquel Union Elementary School District parents confront issues of low teacher pay, high turnover (Lookout)

‘Remember the butterflies?’ The monarchs are on their way — let’s plan a welcome feast

A monarch butterfly at Natural Bridges State Beach
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

For decades, Natural Bridges State Beach has attracted monarch butterflies and crowds eager to glimpse their delicate beauty. Their numbers are now dwindling — down 99.9% since the 1980s — and the iconic orange and black insects are coming in fewer numbers to Santa Cruz. Longtime resident and writer Claudia Sternbach remembers trips with her in-laws, her Montessori class and the day the Loma Prieta earthquake solidified her love for the colorful, winged visitors. She also helps us think about what small acts we can do to help them survive. Read her full Community Voices opinion piece here.

MORE FROM COMMUNITY VOICES: Read letters to the editor about downtown homelessness, the purchase of Watsonville Community Hospital and more, plus how to contribute your own


Santa Cruz County Job Board

A nice amuse-bouche of Tuesday news, yes? If you’re hungry for more from Lookout, you’re in luck. Keep our site bookmarked and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for everything we’ve got up our sleeves, including Lily Belli on Food, coming in mere hours.

And this local journalism just isn’t possible without community support — so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member.

Have a super Tuesday!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz