Few Fireworks at Board Meeting Devoted to Charter Organizing

Member Concerns

The SDEA Board meeting on Sep. 27 was calmer than the last few. As usual, the meeting opened with member concerns. Two members spoke. Augie Evans (ALBA) expressed his concern over the process for allocating SDEA members’ dues dollars to support political candidates, and wanted to make the process more transparent. Shane Parmely (Garfield HS and Twain HS) revisited an unresolved issue she had brought up last June: In response to requests from SDEA, the Superintendent sent an email to principals telling them to crack down on members’ access to District mailboxes, and in fact misquoted the SDEA contract in doing so. The District’s attorney Lawrence Schoenke has again sent a similar email reiterating that same crackdown, apparently because SDEA leadership are now seeking District assistance in squashing the current recall (see details HERE). Schoenke specifically stated that members should not be allowed unapproved access to District mailboxes because of the recall, which is an illegal insertion of our employer into our internal union politics. SDEA President Bill Freeman did not respond to either concern. That is a departure from how member concerns have been handled in previous meetings.

Charter School Organizing

SDEA has hired a new charter school organizer to replace outgoing SDEA staffer Muni Citrin. This is in addition to the Board’s previous decision to release SDEA Board Member Iris Anderson from the classroom as a charter organizer to replace former SDEA Vice President Camille Zombro in the position. It is good news that SDEA is getting started on organizing charter schools again, but it is a little worrying that the project has basically been on hold since the summer. Last summer SDEA’s main project was doing outreach to charter school teachers, and several Breakfast Clubbers were actually among the member organizers who participated. This past summer there was no charter teacher outreach. (This is confusing because despite the departure of Zombro and Citrin, NEA staffer Mayrose Wegmann has been working at SDEA on the charter project for almost a year now, and in fact told several teachers in June that there would be major work on the charter project, which apparently never happened. We have written about our concerns about Wegmann and NEA’s involvment with our local union already HERE.) We wish Anderson and the new organizer a speedy and successful start to reigniting the project.

Coming Back to Bite Them

SDEA Executive Director Tim Hill gave a report and talked about how members are reporting principals going overboard and removing even copies of the official union newsletter, The SDEA Advocate, from District mailboxes. This appears to be a extension of District attorney Lawrence Schoenke’s directive about not using District mailboxes for anything other than District business or “approved” SDEA business. This is the same issue raised at the beginning of this meeting during member concerns, with no response. How far is our union going to allow this to go?

For years, teachers have used our mailboxes all the time for non-District purposes, such as retirement parties, baby shower announcements, Secret Santa… and when we have previously run for SDEA office in the past! We’ve never had to get our principal’s approval, let alone our own union’s approval. It is sad that our union leadership is allowing their own current self-interest to destroy a long-standing practice surrounding how SDEA members could use our mailboxes to communicate with each other. At the September Rep. Council, Hill gave a lengthy report about all of the District’s illegal “Unfair Labor Practices” (read details HERE) based on unilateral changes they’ve made. Isn’t this a unilateral change to our working conditions, too? When the District takes away members rights, our union is supposed to fight for us to stop it. SDEA leadership, we are still waiting.

The next SDEA Board meeting scheduled for Oct. 3 has been tentatively canceled. We’ll let you know when the next meeting is.

— by Carter Anderson (Perkins) and Shane Parmely (Garfield and Twain)


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