Tonight was another wild ride. We heard some common recurring themes. There was so much material for my blog, I will have to break it up. I will try and address some of the following themes in the coming days.
- The board meeting is for the board not the public
- Clarifying questions are for helping to educate the board's critics
- The board doesn't have an opportunity to respond to their critics
- Anyone who questions the direction the board is leading the district is being too negative
- The board is dependent on the administration for direction
What you really need to know about what happened tonight is the board approved the assistant superintendents' renegotiated contracts.
Before the board made their closed session decision, several parents and teachers asked them to reconsider increasing the district's obligations to the highest paid employees in our district. We didn't feel it was the right time to increase administration compensation while our kids' education programs and services are continuing to be cut. It was apparent from the beginning that the board was planning on approving the contracts.
They immediately responded to the parents by questioning the accuracy of our information. The first "clarifying question" of the first speaker was "how do you know they are getting a raise?" and "Is this hearsay?" This was followed by "Do you have a copy of the current contract?"
Mr. Greenwood's "clarifying question" was a statement equating teacher tenure to the extended contracts for the supes and asking "What cuts have the teachers taken?.". Another "clarifying question" was asked about an agreement the superintendents made last year to take 5 furlough days if, and only if, both employee unions also agreed to a 5 day furlough. Mrs. Lara was quick to quote the regulation number (not sure if "regulation" is the right word here).
Board President David Sanchez's directed a "clarifying question" to Superintendent Dr. Kayrell. He asked the superintendent if the new contracts included any monetary increases. Kayrell's response was a hesitant "No".
I do have copies of the current contracts and I will post them here soon. This comment by Dr. Kayrell was misinformed, to say the least. There are two major changes to the contracts.
- The new contracts have guaranteed step increases beginning July 1st, 2010; there was no mention of increases in the old contracts.
- The new contracts also obligate the district to pick up the employee portion of the supes' retirement packages.
I have been told the employee portion of the STRS (State Teachers Retirement System) for Mrs. Latham and the PERS (California Public Employee Retirement System) for Mr. Hovey and Mrs. Mays is at least 8% of their annual salary, this is an annual benefit increase in excess of $10,000 for each contract. I would like Dr. Kayrell to explain how guaranteed increases beginning this year and an additional $10,000+ more annual take home pay doesn't qualify as increased monetary compensation. Maybe I am missing something. If I am, someone please help me understand.
From the board's comments about comparing the new contracts to the current contracts, it is clear to me that they were aware of the changes and they knowingly authorized the increases.
You be the judge. Are we headed in the right direction?