At the request of Arlie Ricasa, the September 17th School Board meeting was moved to September 24th , the first Monday of our two week break. The agenda was rather lengthy; however, the School Board only dealt with one item: a contract for our superintendent. The process began at 5:00 p.m. with the closed session agenda. All members of the public spoke against issuing a contract to Ed Brand. After listening to the public, the Board entered into closed session. After 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the contract that was created for Ed was shared with the public. We were given 20 minutes to review the document. Once again, all public speakers spoke against the issuing of the contract; however, the School Board voted 3-2 in favor of the contract. (Lopez and Quinones voting “no”.)
All bargaining units in our District (SEA, counselors, classified, confidential, management, and NAGE) agreed to concessions due to the economic crisis. However, the superintendent received a raise, paid vacation days, a buy-out clause, an ambiguous merit pay raise clause, mileage, no conditions related to Prop 30, and more. Please read the contract. I am interested in seeing a copy of the contract before it was modified by the Board and will be requesting a copy to share with you. If the community and SEA did not have a presence at this meeting, I am sure that more of our concession-generated-savings would have been used to fund the contract.
My brother tells me all kinds of great things about Ed Brand the teacher. He was in his physics class at Southwest High back in the day. He is still teaching lessons: how to achieve a good contract during a real economic crisis. He resigned and we were superintendent-less for a while. Essentially he held out for a contract. The situation resembled a strike. He was not bound by the same rules that govern our bargaining process.
Would the District have the audacity to ask for deep concessions from us again in light of the raise given to Ed Brand? Yes. Ed has made it clear that even if Prop 30 passes, the District will be asking for further concessions in the next round of negotiations.
I heard several audience members use the “strike” word as the School Board meeting ended. We will bargain according to all PERB regulations. However, if we end up in a strike, I would say that we are following Ed’s example.
Let me end this message by saying “thank you.” Once again, thank you to all of you that attended the meeting during our break. I know that if the meeting had occurred for when it was originally scheduled that more of us would have been able to be present. (The District knows this too.) Many of you were able to follow the progress of the meeting from the Sweetwater Education Association’s Facebook page. Roberto Rodriguez: Thank you for the “play by play” reports on Facebook. Helen Farias: Thank you for the e-mail communiques and for linking media reports of our School Board’s action to our Facebook page! (You may sign up to be a part of our listserv via our website at seacta.org.)
Alex Anguiano, SEA President