Dear SEA Bargaining Unit,
As the District is in the process of sending Lawson letters for verification of credential and hire date information to our bargaining unit as the first step in the layoff process, SEA has discovered that the District has been using a staffing ratio of 28:1 in their budget calculations for the 2013-14 school year. The negotiated ratio is 31:1.
A 28:1 ratio would necessitate the hiring of approximately 150 educators at the cost of a little over 11 million dollars for the upcoming school year. At a community budget meeting held on Wednesday, December 12, it was announced that the error that SEA discovered will save the District approximately 9.3 million dollars. I expected the District to low ball the savings. Our calculation is more accurate. The District believes that the 150 educator figure that we calculated is closer to 140 and is using a lower salary average than we are in their savings calculations.
So, the District believed that the best way to hire 140 additional educators was to implement the layoff process. Busted. They are using the layoff process as a bargaining tactic. No District in the South County that feeds into ours is stooping so low.
I want the District to stop the layoff process. Now. In a meeting last week, I explained to the CFO that the District’s bargaining tactic will have an immediate impact. For example, if I was low on seniority, I would consider budgeting a low budget holiday season for my family. I would also be in the process of looking for employment elsewhere.
I also explained to the CFO that last year’s layoff process caused many educators to be transferred from one site to another, some to leave the District, and caused master schedule chaos at the start of this school year that ultimately negatively impacted our students. I also explained to the CFO that when the ratio was already contractually established at 31:1 for this current year that the District directed principals to build schedules at 34:1. (A principal was also present at this meeting.) The CFO looked surprised. Welcome to Sweetwater! He is now working for the most corrupt school district in the nation.
The first thing that I asked him at the meeting was to tell me honestly where he arrived at the 28:1 figure. As expected, he told me that Sandra Huezo, Superintendent of Human Resources, provided him with the information. I provided him and the other administrators present with a copy of the document signed by both bargaining teams that indicated the proper ratio for the upcoming school year. I informed him that if I were the superintendent, that I would fire Sandra Huezo for this blunder. Besides not properly sunshining their initial bargaining proposal, an error that should have been prevented by the Superintendent of HR, the District has presented erroneous data in community budget forums, on their website, in their e-mail newsletters, and to the School Board on Monday, December 10th. After the presentation of the false data due to Sandra Huezo’s error, the School Board approved their initial bargaining proposal to us.
If I was the superintendent, I would issue an apology to the SEA bargaining unit and to the School Board, and immediately announce that our bargaining unit members will not need to suffer through the layoff process again. However, I expect that he will find a way to put Sandra Huezo, a Jesus Gandara hiree, on a pedestal, the Communications Department will respond to this letter via the “Heard around the District” section of their budget and bargaining updates, and that the District will be too cowardly to admit that they are using the layoff process as a bargaining tactic.
I hope that I am wrong.
Alex Anguiano, SEA President