Guest Blog Post: A Veteran Lays out the Facts

Keith Wohlfarth (16 years, teacher at Franklin, 22 years with SDUSD, 35  totalteaching years) says, “Here’s why you should vote NO on SDEA’s TentativeAgreement:”

FACT: SDEA has lied to us, its members, from the beginning of “negotiations”.

Not only did SDEA open our contract (which it promised it wouldn’t do), but a new and “improved” contract was negotiated for us. This fact ALONE proves that anything SDEA says/does can NOT be trusted. Therefore, anyone who agrees to this simple fact alone should vote a big NO.

FACT: SDEA admitted that their phone survey was flawed, yet they used the “results” to determine that its members were willing to open negotiations.

FACT: Grades 4 through 12 have always have a “max” of 36 students in a classroom, although it often is higher, and because of that, a large number of teachers must be recalled to fill the empty positions.  In effect, what this means is that 1,500+ teachers actually being laid off is a lie in the sense that many must be rehired to fill the vacancies in grades 4-12.

FACT: SDEA and the District both knew full well that our economy would not magically improve when our current  contract was ratified 2 years ago, yet they agreed to it, a legally-binding document. A contract is a contract!

FACT: SDEA has negotiated away our restoration of the furlough days (a pay cut) and our raises.  We’re going to need everything the District promised us in good faith for the upcoming 2013 contract renewal to avoid our benefits being reduced. With the current TA, we are giving up everything but our benefits.

FACT: There’s been a “threat” of more furlough days.  This increase with our current furlough days will reduce our salaries by at least  $5,000 to $8,000, and I don’t know of many teachers who have a stockpile of money laying around to subsidize this loss.

FACT: SDEA states: “We strongly recommend that you vote “yes” to ratify this agreement.”  Not only is this highly unprofessional, but it is illegal to coerce members to vote a certain way.  This is also an outright act of bullying.

FACT: If the current SDEA were a professional organization, it would be publishing emails that present opposing sides and not just the “YES” side.

FACT: The general public has always viewed teachers as the “bad guys”.  No matter what we do, this perception will not change. So, why hasn’t SDEA done anything to rectify the public’s misconceptions? Shouldn’t that have been a major SDEA focus during these past 2 years?

FACT:  I have 2 BAs, 1 MA, and 35 years of teaching experience. My sister has her BS, and 20 years of work experience. She almost makes as much as I do at the highest step. She orders car parts for Nissan and I teach children. Teachers are

NOT being paid what they are truly worth!

Even if the Nov. initiative passes, we will NOT see a penny of it.  The District will say that it needs to hold onto any revenues because of the possible mid-year cuts to the budget. Then there will be next year’s budget cuts, followed by further cuts, and on and on in an endless spiral.

Our raises have been deferred, and they will continue to be deferred because an economy does NOT bounce back in a couple of years. It appears to me that teachers who are planning to vote YES on this have forgotten what they learned in their basic econ. class in high school.

SDEA has singlehandedly shown the world how ineffective and useless a union can be.  It’s no wonder that many people believe that unions should be eliminated.

We, the teachers, need to take our union back and show the public what a union in the right hands can accomplish.

In conclusion, I no longer trust our union, SDEA, to do right by its members, and, therefore, I will be voting “NO’ on this TA, (but I would vote “Yes” for a total recall of the current SDEA board.)

Since SDEA has lost all trustworthiness, for legal reasons, I also believe that an uninvolved third party MUST oversee the verifying, collecting, and counting of votes since clearly SDEA has a conflict of interest.

Before you vote, please be sure to think about everything that is being said about SDEA, the District, and this tentative agreement! Being informed with all the facts will allow you to make the right choice!


Keith Wohlfarth


One thought on “Guest Blog Post: A Veteran Lays out the Facts

  1. Kindly comment on latest email from SDEA, “If Initiative Passes Will SDUSD’s Budget Improve?”
    True, possible or scare tactic?

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