Comments and Quotes from Educators Voting NO

Vote yes and let the district know that they can make the teachers the scapegoats again next year. Vote yes and let the district know that they can bully us into compliance Vote yes and let the district know that you are willing to lie down and take it again…and again…and again. Saying that it’s the best we can do is defeatist. Saying we don’t have a choice is defeatist. Standing and fighting for what’s right is what everyone needs to do now and stop allowing the district’s mismanagement of money cause lay-offs and negative salary consequences. What makes you think there will be anything good next year, or the year after that, or the year after that, if you give in now?

Thank you for the close reading up date. I teach my students “close-reading” and this is one reason I do – contracts. Sadly, I deem the “pink-slipped” teachers will not read the “fine print” and thus ratify “all” of us into a “hole” we will never climb out of. Machiavellian tactics are at work here – “fear and deception.”

Those ECE teachers were already saved without any help from TA. The ECE department found alternate funding to save half the classrooms. Having the strength & courage to say “I believe in myself, my decisions, and my expert opinions when it comes to the welfare and happiness of my child!” is one of the strongest ways we can follow our heart and gut (or intuition).  If something doesn’t feel right, or is of a questionable ‘fit’, investigate, ask questions and keep searching for a better solution.

Thank you again BC Leaders for your “close-reading” and analysis of the proposed contract. It looks worse with each reading and has so many holes, I envision rabbits jumping in and out, confused, and frightened. My mind is made up to just say say, “NO.”  I have also written the UT and mentioned that it should stop its “subliminal” messages to the public to veto this tax initiative. The entire contract is contingent upon the initiative passing and this also means, it is contingent upon the district “honoring” the contract and for once, allocating funds accordingly. Obviously this is a great risk, since the contract has been extended. I wish my neighbors, several are retired SDUSD teachers, could vote. After only reading the UT article, their comments – “You will NEVER recover. Consider yourselves screwed [for lack of a better term] forever.”

I have to disagree about the teachers having to “bear the brunt of all the cuts”. Classified staffing has been cut every year since the Bersin regime suspended the staffing formula.Our work load has increased while our numbers decrease. Many of us are left with jobs that could hardly be called that. Two hours per day at a school 20 miles from home with no benefits hardly seems like a job offer at all. Principals have tumbled to the fact that they can shave 15 minutes off a four-hour work day and save money by not paying for medical benefits. Classified folks are the lowest paid workers in the district, yet the district continues to allow cuts that are specifically meant to deny us health care.Classified cuts mean major cuts in services to our students. Everyone agrees good teachers are vital to a good education. Does anyone care who feeds those students at school, cleans up after them, and transports them to school? Who provides those detailed transcripts so they get into the college they choose? Who handles all the financial transactions for field trips, football games and proms? Who keeps those beautiful library facilities opened and books circulating so our students can access quality literature on a regular basis? Classified workers provide all that and more.We faithfully serve the parents, students and teachers of SDUSD. Our reward? More work and more cuts! When was the last time classified cuts were rescinded? If you ask them, classified workers will tell you that they have borne the brundt of cuts for nearly a decade. Isn’t it time that SDUSD stopped trying to balance the budget on our backs?So the deal is that the teachers take pay cuts, and promises. The vouchers I proposed would have given those who worked this year an enforceable voucher redeemable in the future for THIS YEAR’S LOST PAY. Instead the pay is lost FOR GOOD and the promises that everyone opposing the vouchers feared have no teeth at all. Worse, the kids lose more teaching days from those staff development days where teachers get a days pay for being taught things they already know! Barrerra’s one on one bargaining makes the board and SDEA’s bargaining teams look like fools! Why have a bargaining team if the deal is made by one person on each side? I expect the helpless teachers to take the hit and vote to save jobs for the union, even though they are taking ALL the risks. When the contract expires, what do they expect the union to do now? All the district has to do from now on is keep spending enough to look poor so CTA’s auditors can’t find any savings. THIS CONTRACT MODIFICATION is almost as bad as the original contract was, it only kicks the can down the road and lets the district off the hook for its foolish promises (made by Barrera and Evans in the last “off the record” negotiation! WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE is to agree to set aside money each year as a cushion for changes in the cost of living and an account to cover lost income. That used to be the value of property taxes …..which are a far more stable source of income than state sales and income taxes. Many districts in other parts of the country are not hurting as badly now, just because they retained a balance between property and economically sensitive taxes. Sadly, California didn’t see things ever getting worse. As I was told years ago by a wise superintendent “give me a reserve to build a dream on….” Some of us liberals KNOW that it takes money to accomplish our priorities. Each generation seems to learn the hard way….

I have a few questions.

1. Why the eleventh hour? Is it because Camille was voted out and now the union can push this through?

2. How convenient that there is a vote in the summer when people are on vacation and not checking their district email.

3. We already know about their lame phone survey conducted while we were all in our classrooms teaching!
Did they really want to know what we thought? I doubt it.

4. I don’t take the first price that the car dealer quotes me either! I bargain and negotiate. Isn’t that what we are paying the union to do?

5. This is not about who is getting laid off-this is about respect for the job we all do. Why was the union trying to divide members?

6. We all deserve respect and this first version is not all it could be. What is wrong with getting the best deal and going back to the bargaining table in good faith?

7. Why am I suspicious? I keep getting emails from the union and the district sounding like it is all over. But we still have to VOTE!!


That is why I am voting NO!


Instead of subjecting us to this one-sided harangue and demeaning the democratic efforts of SDEA members, please take the time to address the concerns that many of us have.
1) Please show us where in the TA is says the NO layoffs will take place for the next two years. I can’t find that guarantee anywhere in the agreement.
2) The potential 17% pay reduction is quite clear: Continuation of the current 5 furlough days – 7% “deferred” raise – up to 14 additional furlough days = 17% pay cut over what OUR CONTRACT GUARANTEES us for next year. Please do not hide this obvious and distressing fact.
3) Please explain what guarantees there are that we will ever see our deferred raises. “…will be deferred and if not implemented by the end of the agreed to term of these contracts shall roll over into a successor agreement after June 30, 2014” says to me MY money is gone. FOREVER.
4) $25,000 retirement incentive??? ARE YOU JOKING????
SUPERINTENDENT KOWBA HIMSELF STATED BEFORE THE TA WAS EVEN NEGOTIATED THAT “…the unfortunate reality remains that the district will not be able to recall more than 1,000 of our certificated staff. [emphasis mine] (Friday Notes, May 25, 2012) LOOK IT UP! Every single person on the planet except our negotiating team knows that we cannot open the doors in the fall without those 1500 teachers. Stop giving our future away. Please?

Why would anyone in their right mind want to work for San Diego Unified schools? Even now they are making it look like they have done something wonderful to take back the pink slips when in fact it is on teachers’ backs that they are being pulled.

For many many years now, they have jerked teachers around in good times and in bad times. Most of your seasoned teachers, like myself, escaped through retirement the moment that they could. Back in the day, as they say, teaching was the greatest of all professions and every day was a gift to teachers and students. With today’s economy and the odd management of the school district it is anything but great. For so many it is like being on death row and then being reprieved over and over again until the next round occurs. If it is not you, it is the wonderful people who work around you.

Those of us who have fled sympathize for those of you who are being put through this economic form of harassment year after year. Teachers work harder and harder and give more and more and the return is minimal since you can’t really get the pleasure out of this profession by funding it from your own pocket and having to deal with hordes of students in a day. Future teachers beware!


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