Where Was That Spring Organizing Campaign That Rep. Council Passed???

By Shane Parmely, Twain CR and CTA Delegate-elect

SDEA Kicks the Can on Election Re-Run
At the May 15 Rep. Council, Elections Committee Co-Chair Kandi Nieto reminded everyone that it’s AR/CR election season again. Golden Hill K-8 teacher Nancy Dosick asked for an update on the election in which the SDEA Board overturned her victory based on an email she didn’t send.  When would the new election be held?  Nieto said that she was still waiting to hear back from CTA, but Dosick shared that CTA had responded weeks ago and had denied her appeal because she didn’t include certain documents pertaining to the election challenge. (Ironically, a large part of Dosick’s complaint was precisely that SDEA never gave her those documents in the first place. It is, as Dosick has called it, Kafka-esque.)

We ended up with no clear answers. It seems pretty clear at this point that SDEA is waiting for school to get out before re-running the election, since high voter turnout clearly hasn’t been working in the incumbents’ favor. The re-run will also include the CTA seat that Emily Neidhart won, which the Board also overturned so SDEA VP Lindsay Burningham will get a second chance. We’ll keep you updated about timelines, and by the way, we ALL need to help remind each other to vote this summer. If you haven’t gotten your colleagues phone numbers and personal email addresses, NOW IS THE TIME.

SDEA Drops the Ball on Rep. Council’s Motion to Launch a Spring Organizing Campaign
What I was really looking forward to was an update about the motion I made at the March Rep. Council to launch a spring organizing plan to get our pay restoration sooner than later (like many other districts are experiencing). In March, I asked if SDEA was going to create a spring organizing campaign since there were no layoffs this year. Burningham was very clear that SDEA had zero intention of doing any organizing. So I added “spring organizing campaign” to the Business Item section of the agenda and later made a motion to create a campaign that included accountability sessions regarding the raises and other issues concerning rank and file educators.

Rep. Council voted to pass my motion almost unanimously.  The purpose of the campaign, as I explained while speaking to the motion, was to organize to put pressure on the District to implement our raises and cancel furlough days faster than what is described in our contract.  If the District can justify hiring more administrators and giving administrators raises because they expect an increase in funding from the state, then they can apply this sunny financial picture to their dealings with us, as well.  By the April Rep. Council, it was clear that no actual organizing had taken place to create this campaign.  In lieu of an organizing plan, Burningham presented a months-old document created after the January SDEA Board Retreat that had absolutely nothing to do with scheduling accountability sessions with SDUSD Board members. But we were promised they were coming.

And so it was with disappointment, but not surprise, that as of the May Rep Council, not a single accountability session had been held.  And even though in Bill Freeman’s President’s Report the update on the accountability sessions said that SDEA had scheduled a meeting with all of the school board members, the first one didn’t take place until Thursday, May 30th. Spring is over.  Where was the spring organizing campaign?

First Reading of SDEA’s Budget
There was no substantive first reading of SDEA’s budget.  Everyone was handed the budget and sent home to read it on their own, with only a cursory explanation from SDEA Treasurer Manuel Gomez.  Reps are supposed to return to the June 5 Rep. Council and will be given time to ask questions (if someone doesn’t cut people off by making a motion to close debate) before they are required to vote on the budget.

At the beginning of Rep. Council I made a motion to move the first reading of the budget from Reports to the Discussion Items section so that we could actually talk about the budget, but it failed.  Again, this shows the importance of all of us getting involved. If you aren’t your site’s AR, and you want these Rep. Council votes to go differently, you need to run for AR.  Still, I did get to ask a few clarifying questions about the budget, including:

1)      (Page 3, Line 202; Page 5, Line 401)  SDEA professional and support staff salaries are increasing by about $84,000 next year.  Is this because they have had all their furlough days cancelled?  Yes.  The SDEA staff that helped negotiate our contract in which we will be lucky to see a 2% raise and two furlough days cancelled next year, made sure they negotiated air-tight raises and full cancellation of all furlough days for themselves if Prop 30 passed.  So good news… the SDEA staff does know how to negotiate when it really matters to them.

2)     (Page 7, Line 610) In the last three budgets, the SDEA President is budgeted for 248 work days as dictated by our governance documents—not 243, which would reflect furlough days.  This year there is a new note in the budget saying that the President is taking furlough days, but it still says 248 days. Just writing a note in our budget doesn’t change our agreement with the District.  The District pays our President according to our governance documents, which states 248 days.  When I asked about this, Freeman stated that he has taken the same 2.7% cut as every other educator in our union. Here’s the problem: Five furlough days result in a 2.7% pay cut only for educators working on the 184-day salary schedule.  Five furlough days for someone whose calendar is 248 days would only be a 2% pay cut, NOT 2.7%. This is verified by the salary schedules in the back of the new red SDEA contract—the five days correspond to a lower cut for the lengthier-day calendars. So if Freeman thinks the way furlough days work is that everyone took a 2.7% annual cut no matter how many days they work… he really just might not understand that he’s not taking furlough days. Either way, it should be fixed, and the president should take the same furlough days the rest of us take.

ARs and CRs will be asked to vote on the budget at the Wednesday, June 5 Rep. Council. Have an opinion about the budget? Make sure your site reps know.

Pro Rata Professional Development Day
If for some reason you are unable to attend the district-wide professional development day on the day assigned to you, the make-up day will be held on Saturday, June 8th from 8:30am – 3:35pm at Kearny High School’s auditorium.  You must sign up for the make-up day on ERO and space is limited.  To find it on ERO, search for PDs on June 8th.

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