An inspirational message from Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the National Education Association
Comments from Nov. 13 School Board Meeting
|S. Hunt - Montgomery||J. Beckley - O. B. Whaley|
Good Evening Trustees, Colleagues, and Community Members,
At the risk of having board members once again debating whether I have the right to free speech and spending thousands of dollars on lawyers fees in an attempt to have my comments expunged from the record, I feel the need to respond to Mr. Zito's election day email. In it, he made numerous inaccurate and inflammatory statements about the teachers I represent.
Misleading statement #1 - "Like Unions all over California, the Evergreen Teacher Union has spent over $25,000 to get their slate of 3 candidates elected."
First of all, while we are definitely and proudly a union, our name is the Evergreen Teachers Association. Not surprisingly, Mr. Zito's dollar figure is grossly exaggerated. We did spend money donated by teachers on pro-education candidates including at the county board level where we helped elect Claudia Rossi, a Morgan Hill Trustee. As documented in the Mercury News, her opponent received $180,000 in support from the California Charter Schools Association.
#2 - "But I declined the endorsement and any contributions from EESD unions..."
In truth, Mr. Zito was invited to participate last April but refused even to meet with our Recommendations Committee. We did interview him prior to his first term and were so concerned by his lack of understanding of how public education functions including the collective bargaining process that we chose not to endorse him.
#3 - "Our District teachers and staff received a much needed raise in February 2014, and another raise on July 1."
There was no raise July 1, and Mr. Zito failed to mention the agreement to share health benefits costs which also began in February thereby virtually eliminating the raise he described as much needed.
Misleading statement #4 - "However, at our Evergreen District Board meeting on October 9th, the teacher's Union president announced they have opened this year's negotiations with yet another request for a raise over twice the size of their most recent raise."
I made no mention of the specifics of the proposal during my public comments on October 9th. Doing so would be both inappropriate and illegal. I don't believe my remarks have been erased from last month's minutes at least not yet if anyone feels the need to verify their accuracy.
In reality, the district negotiated a three-year deal that included a re-opener for a salary increase in 2014-15, and we are simply attempting to help the Evergreen School District follow through on its contractual agreements.
As president of the Evergreen Teachers Association, I believe negotiations should be a collaborative undertaking where both sides seek common ground on which to base an agreement. My hope going forward is Mr. Zito will cease his confrontational tactics and repeated attempts to bargain in public. Under the Employer-Employee Relations Act (EERA), doing so is defined as an unfair labor practice. I suggest he stop trying to micromanage the district and allow the process to reach its logical conclusion. At that point if he must continue to undermine his own management team by voting against it, so be it.
I'll conclude with a quote from Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the National Education Association. I encourage you to listen to her speech in its entirety on our website, ETAnews.org
"When it comes to fighting for our kids we never hold back and we never give up. Voters know what we know - when families do better, kids do better. On this fundamental lesson, the public is on our side."
Proud & dedicated Matsumoto, Millbrook teachers hung in there to the very end!
Brian Wheatley, ETA President
408-272-0601 ext. 215
Dates to Remember
Negotiations Day 4 - Dec. 8 (TBD)
Rep Council Holiday Celebration - (Mt. Ham @ 3:45 pm)
School Board - Dec. 11 (DO @ 6:30 pm)
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