HDTA President’s Speech to the William S. Hart District’s Governing Board 9.2.21
Good evening Board, student board member, President Dr. Moore, Superintendent Kuhlman, and staff. As usual, thank you for permitting me the time to speak with you tonight. Tonight’s message is not armed with the slings and arrows of some Shakespeariean epic, but is simply an effort to let people know where we stand as the HDTA. We come here tonight not to rabble rouse, not to block driveways or parking spaces, and not to scream and yell. We come here to show our solidarity.
We live in unprecedented times, dynamic times, very difficult times indeed. The many jobs of our members are always changing, yet normally not at the pace, frequency, or volume which we have endured as of late. The difficulties of our varied responsibilities are mind boggling. We do appreciate it when you come to visit and enjoy what happens in the different venues of our jobs, but remember, what you are seeing are the results of our hard work and not the preparation that goes into making those results happen.
The various roles we play are unlike most any other profession.
And I use the word profession because we are professionals. And we expect to be treated as such. You see, unlike many other professions, we are expected to do many different things, quite often at the mercy of our own safety and sanity. The list is too long to enumerate, but I promise that it is long and the tasks arduous. And we are not perfect, but we model to our students that you learn and grow from your mistakes. That’s what learning is, adapting to change and changing to adapt.
We too are people, although some students look at us as creatures from another planet, especially when they see us at the grocery store, in restaurants, or about town. We have our own needs: our own families, and both children and parents that we must take care of.
So as we move forward I ask that you provide us with more than just compliments of a job well done. We need you to look at what it means to be a teacher, especially in this valley, and during these times. If you really wish to attract the best and brightest talent and you want to retain them, it comes with a cost. This District was once a “Destination District” with a stellar reputation and a highly competitive salary schedule. But over the last 8 years, our wages have slipped from 102% above the state average to 88% of those same averages. This represents a 14% percent drop in Hart District Teacher Salaries in less than a decade. Teachers and administrators are leaving (The District). And while the District does currently retain its reputation, in time it too will erode. As People will continue to look for better paying opportunities elsewhere. TEACHER SALARIES MUST ONCE AGAIN BECOME A PRIORITY IN THE HART DISTRICT.
HDTA members care about their students. We care about teaching and learning. We care about the social-emotional well being of all. Make no mistake about it, We care. In return we ask that you care about us and that means making sure that we are adequately compensated for the jobs we do and for the outcomes which we have achieved. THANK YOU
In order to avoid a possible Brown Act Violation I must refrain from engaging in any dialog with board members at this time. Please feel free to email at any time with your questions.
Since I am the current lead negotiator of the HDTA I must refrain from engaging in conversation that might be construed as bargaining away from the table
Welcome back. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and enjoyed your time off. I wanted to share a few updates and items we will be addressing.
We understand that the issue of returning to work is the first thing on everyone’s mind. The new County regulations do permit the SPED cohorts to continue on campus’. It seems highly unlikely that we will be able to return in January. We have been supportive of the Superintendent’s idea that any return occur at a natural grading break. We continue to work on language for a return to work MOU.
In addition, a negotiation survey will be provided soon to address overall concerns. The district’s first interim budget report is due December 15 which we will be comparing with the initial budget and end of last year’s. We hope to hear of positive federal action to support state and local agencies.
There seems to be some contradiction in COVID reporting and action protocols, especially in regard to individual contact with someone identified as positive. We will be working to clarify.
As stated previously, those who have provided requests to continue working from home have been offered unpaid leave by HR. It is understood that this is not the solution we were looking for. If/when we are back with students, the only way to take paid leave would be with a Dr. note putting you out on leave for which you would have to use your own leave time. In this situation, HIPPA regulations are less stringent and the employer has the right to the details of the nature of the issues at hand.
There are many other more specific issues being addressed. More to come as we get verification.
Good evening board members, President Storli, and staff. Thank you as usual for providing time for me to speak
Tonight, as we all anxiously await the decisions made in the 2020 election, I want to first recognize the service of Mrs. Storli and Mr. Sturgeon for their tireless support of the Hart District and wish them the best. These two board members have been committed to the oversight of our students, staff, and district as a whole. Thank you.
In terms of our current situation, I want to reiterate the association’s deep concern for the safety of all as we begin to return to campus. As word of mouth is an unstoppable force, I continue to ask for a transparent communication of information in regard to cases of covid on our campus’. As numbers of reported Covid continue to rise, I have become aware of multiple cases throughout our schools that are not widely known. This is why HDTA has asked for the adoption of the standards in AB685 prior to its implementation which would require notification to all employees on a campus where a case has been documented. Not that we don’t want to come back, but of a concern for safety. Please take these concerns in serious consideration. A colleague of mine reminded me of a phrase, FUD, Fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Teachers are fearful of the disease. They are uncertain of what the return will look like, and they are doubtful it can be a safe and pedagogically efficient return for all. Don’t get me wrong, teachers want to be back in the classroom.
In addition, there is very little clarity to the requests of teachers who submitted letters, including from physicians, in regard to teaching from off site as we return to a blended model. Once again fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
On another note, the consent calendar tonight has a listing of costs for students for whom we are paying outside agencies enormous fees. I would think this would be a discussion among our board members who are the fiduciaries of our district. There is between 2-3 million dollars being appropriated for these outside services which does NOT include legal fees incurred during the process. Our teachers are tired of hearing there is no money, the sky is falling, we’re going bankrupt. We have continued to keep up our part of the contract, reinventing the wheel to support our students, but have not seen anything in return. We are all in this together, let’s keep it that way.
11/4/2020 School Board Agenda:https://williamshart.agendaonline.net/public/Meeting.aspx?AgencyID=159&MeetingID=80472&AgencyTypeID=1&IsArchived=False
Jim Klipfel has been selected as one of the 5 State of California Teachers of the Year!