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Teachers protest furlough days: San Bruno officials in negotiations with teachers
March 14, 2014, 05:00 AM By Angela Swartz Daily Journal

Angela Swartz/Daily Journal
San Bruno elementary school teachers showed up in numbers to the Wednesday night school board meeting to speak out against furlough days.

Julia Maynard, president of the association and teacher at Parkside Intermediate School, addresses the board.

Teachers and parents came out dressed in red to the San Bruno Park Elementary School District board meeting Wednesday night to demand the restoration of five school days.

District teachers agreed last year to take five unpaid furlough days to help the district when finances were tight, but now San Bruno Education Association members and parents are demanding the school board restore student education days to the district calendar. The district has $5 million in reserves and restoring the five days would only cost $250,000, according to a press release from the association. But, according to district officials, it would actually cost the district closer $400,000 to eliminate the furlough days for all employees. Some district funds are restricted for items like a state-mandated designation for economic uncertainty, said Superintendent David Hutt. Given that there is actually about $350,000 available and because it’s a function of the general fund, that amount of money has a lot of competing interests, he said.

Julia Maynard, president of the association and teacher at Parkside Intermediate School, said Wednesday was the perfect time to discuss the furlough days in the district since the meeting had a packed crowd and negotiations will occur on Friday, said.

“These furlough days are affecting all of our community,” she said. “We’re making materials for Common Core and really it’s so much work. We’re the only ones in this area taking furlough days. Everyone is being asked to do more with less. It’s demoralizing and preying on our goodness.”

She noted that most other teachers in area are getting raises and that San Bruno teachers are some of the lowest paid at the same time class sizes are being raised.

Both the teachers and district agreed to a reduction in the number of instructional days for this year due to the inadequate funding of schools by the state of California, said Hutt. He noted he thought the teachers conducted themselves very professionally at the meeting.

“Both parties also agreed that if the fiscal picture improved we would come back to the bargaining table to revisit the decision,” he said. “District finances have improved. Both parties have come back and the subject is being negotiated.We have a scheduled session of negotiations [Friday] and I’m hopeful we will be able to come to resolution that satisfies all interests.”

Meanwhile, board President Patrick Flynn said before the meeting it’s a little too late in his opinion for them to protest the item. He also noted the board couldn’t really do anything at this meeting since it wasn’t on the agenda.

Since the item is in negotiations, Trustee Jennifer Blanco said she can’t comment specifically on the furlough days, but she said the teachers have the right to come and express themselves.

“I can just hope for the best,” she said. “I hope we can truly work this out.”

Parents said the furlough days send a bad message to kids, are a burden for parents who need to find child care on the days off and lead to lost wages.

“What does it say to the kids if five days of school are cut off at the end of the year?” said parent Joan Skinner. “What message are we giving to the kids if we’re cutting days of schools? If we had enough money for a $2 million paving project, then we need to get this item back on the agenda about the five days for these teachers and need to find the money for the teachers.”

Another parent, Martha Acacio, agreed with Skinner.

“I can’t imagine what our teachers have to endure every day with youth with different personalities and different issues, then they have to go home and do homework,” she said. “The message we have to give in our community is education is important. If they get the message it’s OK to start reducing days, then what are they taking in? I think that we can do better. San Bruno, I know we can do better.”

angela@smdailyjournal.com

(650) 344-5200 ext. 105

 

 

Tags: district, teachers, furlough, meeting, school, message,


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