Opportunity to Work Initiative - Info / Committment
Board Comments 6-7-16
Good Evening Trustees, Colleagues, and Community Members,
The end of another school year should be a time of celebration, recognition, and hope. Sadly, I stand before you on the last day of 2015-16 concerned about Evergreen School District.
There is very little cause for festivities when we are about to release more than thirty amazing teachers with barely a mention on tonight's agenda. At a time when we are just beginning to realize the depths of the teacher shortage here in California, management is content to let these highly qualified and incredibly dedicated individuals go elsewhere. The good news for them, I suppose, is they will be quickly snatched up by other districts eager to hire certificated staff whose professional development has been paid for by Evergreen.
In her final communication to certificated staff, Superintendent Gomez chose to revisit the PE lawsuit. Despite the issue of the public records request being satisfactorily resolved six months ago, she again decided to ask teachers to submit lesson plans before they leave for the summer. Not much in the way of end of year appreciation for a job well done.
Again, I see the Cedar Grove modernization on the agenda. Why are we repeatedly revisiting an issue that already has been and should be settled? The community is expecting and has been promised major improvements to their school site. This ridiculous second-guessing needs to stop. Plans need to move forward without further delay.
As you know, we ostensibly met last Wednesday to negotiate rolling the contract for one year. ETA's goal in agreeing to meet was an attempt to create labor peace and begin to rebuild trust going forward. However, management once again chose to present a "take it or leave it" offer with no room to bargain. This pattern of behavior is precisely why we filed an Unfair Practice Charge (UPC) with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) earlier this year. While the district's lawyer characterized it as merely a negotiation tactic, PERB agrees the case has merit. We will be meeting with a representative on July 27 to attempt some kind of positive resolution before it goes to trial.
One unfortunate result of all these machinations is entering yet another school year with no contract and the prospect of a lengthy and likely contentious bargaining process ahead. We fully expect the district to put forth a new Sunshine Proposal in the fall filled with employee take-backs and cuts based on dire budget projections rather than one founded on actual financial trends.
What all of these issues have in common is a school district making decisions out of fear - fear of lawsuits; fear of worst-case scenarios; fear of due process, fear of a loss of control, or simply fear of being voted out of office. I realize for some people in this room, establishing a climate of fear is a purposeful strategy to further personal political agendas. Please understand, ETA will never act out of fear because we know the results are never what's best for kids. We always strive to focus on our motto:
The Evergreen Teachers Association
Engaging Students, Involving Families, and Empowering Teachers.
Brian Wheatley, ETA President
408-272-0601 ext. 215
Unfair Practice Charge Mediation - July 27 (Oakland)
CTA Summer Institute - July 31- Aug. 4 (UCLA)
ESD Starts - Aug. 17