Good Evening Trustees, Colleagues, and Community Members,
I must admit I'm still grappling with the results of the election on a national level, but there is much to celebrate here in the golden state. The passage of Prop 55 ensures a steady funding stream for public education over the next 12 years, and L.E.A.R.N. - Language Education, Acquisition and Readiness Now - (Prop 58) gives districts much more flexibility in meeting the needs of our diverse student population.
At the state, county, and city levels Prop 52 (Medicare), Measure A (Affordable Housing) and Measure E (Opportunity to Work) should provide much-needed relief to some of our most vulnerable families. I'm also pleased the years of acrimony and legal battles between city management and employee unions over pension reform have been settled with Measure F. It reinforces my belief that through bargaining both sides can come together and compromise for the benefit of everyone involved.
On a personal note, I'm disappointed Measure Y, San Jose Unified's parcel tax, has not yet reached the required two-thirds majority, but I will keep my eye on the numbers as the ballots continue to be counted. As I told our girls this morning, it’s not over yet!
Speaking of close races, here in Evergreen many are watching the San Jose City Council District 8 contest featuring our own Sylvia Arenas. With 23,208 ballots counted so far representing 66% of the total, she leads by only 56 votes! Anything can happen, of course, but Sylvia's numbers have been trending upward, and I for one am hoping she is successful.
Finally, I want to take a moment to thank Trustee Songcayawon for his 12 years on the board. He's a man of integrity grounded in faith. Probably the greatest compliment I can offer is to say he is not a politician. Instead, he is a dedicated businessman who has always had the best interests of the community and its children at heart. In appreciation of your service here in Evergreen, Vince, I award you this ETA T-shirt and make you an honorary member.
Brian Wheatley, ETA President
As we get ready to head back to the bargaining table, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on how the last two years of negotiating have gone. To say they have not been easy is an understatement. Three impasses and an unfair. Our team understands this process is difficult because what we are talking about involves students and money. And make no mistake, when teachers bargain at the table we are very much looking out for our students.
A phrase often used in CTA circles is a teacher’s working conditions are a student’s learning conditions. So when we hear comments from the board or administrators that our contract solely represents teachers, we take issue with that. Just look for example, at the kindergarten contract we negotiated last March. Every item on that agreement has to do with students. For example:
-Dismissing students 15 minutes early so they can be picked up safely before the crush of older students are released.
-Three teacher release days to do one-on-one testing so teaching and small group instruction can begin sooner.
-Increased aide time to better work with kids in small group learning centers.
These are just a few of the items that directly impact students. If the prevailing thought is you support spending money if it directly touches students then you should be aware that all the decisions we make at the table directly impact their learning. Our contract protects and benefits our students, just as it protects and benefits us.
I’m cautiously optimistic that the time and effort spent looking at new ways to bargain will improve the bargaining process. Our team, as always, is committed to working collaboratively and respectfully with the District team. We have a lot of work ahead of us. We are ready to get started.
Suzanne Lima, ETA Bargaining Chair
Dates To Remember
School Board - Dec. 8 (6:30 PM @ DO)
Diversity Reception - Dec. 12 (5 PM @ SJRRC)
Rep Council/Holiday Social - Dec. 13 (3:45 PM @ Mt. Ham)
Sharks Teacher Appreciation Night - Jan. 5
Good Teaching Conference
ESD/ETA Safe Zones Resolution