I’m sure by now you’ve heard of the events at the School Board meeting on October 21. First I want to express my gratitude to all of those who came to the event. So many of you came with your children and your unique stories of how Brand’s imposed rates will affect you. I appreciate all of your words of support as well.
Your show of unity and strength was inspiring to me and hopefully eye-opening to District leadership. They claim that we were disruptive and unprofessional and not good examples for our students. But I say we were the best example; we showed how to stand up to authority to protect what’s right, especially when those in power have proven to be so unreceptive to our concerns.
Did we disrupt the board meeting on October 21st? Yes, we did. However, what the board heard and saw was the culmination of years of frustration, of decisions made without considering educators and district employees, and a total disregard of the community. The district is about to violate our agreement by imposing rates that Ed Brand created. He has said so directly to me and all other union presidents. We are now less than two weeks away from open enrollment and we’ve heard nothing from our employer about rates and out of pocket expenses for members.
Under these circumstances we stood up and compelled the Board and Ed Brand to see the frustration and anger that they’ve created among district employees and the community. I was asked by the media if I was proud of how teachers behaved. The answer is a resounding yes. Absolutely.
The Board, on the other hand, showed their lack of interest in listening to the voices of employees and certainly their lack of interest in the democratic process. On an evening that teachers, other educators and classified employees were showing their concern regarding health benefits, the Board and the Superintendent were more concerned about making real estate deals for a new office building, and a new transportation yard. These are their priorities.
I can’t end my report this month without thanking the work of the Organizing Committee and in particular Helen Farias, our Organizing Chair, for her hard work in organizing and preparing for the event. All I can say is, I’m glad she’s on our team.
With your support, we will continue fighting for what’s right. Sincerely,
Roberto Rodriguez SEA President.
Sweetwater Education Association
1061 Tierra del Rey, STE 100, Chula Vista CA 91915