SEA President's Report for September 2014

As we head to a well-deserved fall break, I hope you’ve weathered the recent heat wave and that you will be able to recharge and energize for the rest of the first semester. I want to take the opportunity to inform you about a historic opportunity we have, and how you can help. Of course, I'm talking about the upcoming school board elections.

 After last school year, I understand the reflex of wanting to hunker down, go in to our classrooms and just teach, to not concern ourselves with the outside world. We can’t do that. 

 What’s the big deal about the school board anyway?

School boards matter because they are the ones in charge! Consider: 

  • It was our school board that hired Jesus Gandara.
  • It was our school board that allowed Gandara to lead us into fact-finding during negotiations for the first time ever.
  • It was the school board that, along with Gandara, participated in illegal activities with construction companies and vendors.
  • It was the school board that allowed Gandara, and later Brand, to begin the process of unnecessarily RIF’ing teachers.
  • It was our school board that hired Ed Brand. 
  • It was the school board that allowed Dr. Brand to violate our contract and cut our insurance last year.
  • It was the school board that allowed negotiations to reach the point of a possible strike. 
  • Its was the school board that approved the iPad rollout without questioning the viability of the plan or ensuring proper infrastructure. 
  • More importantly, it will be the newly elected school board that will hire our next superintendent. 

Clearly, school boards matter a great deal. They have the power to impact our lives, and the lives of our students and their families. 

Opportunity of a lifetime …

For the first time in my almost 30 years in this district, all five seats are up for election. It’s an opportunity to have a major impact on who sits on our school board. SEA has endorsed five solid candidates, all of them with a vested interest in the success of our district. We have parents, educators, union members, and most of all candidates who want to bring ethical behavior to our district and focus on the task of educating our students. SEA’s candidates understand that our work environment is our students’ learning environment. If you haven’t heard about our endorsed candidates, talk to reps at your sites, and visit our new website: for more info.

Yet, when opportunity presents itself, hard work comes with it. SEA is planning a full-blown campaign for our endorsed candidates; however, there are no amounts of mailers or signs that will win these elections. Studies show that in school board elections, mailers have a marginal impact and yard signs have a negligible impact. When was the last time you were convinced by a yard sign to vote for someone? Or a piece of mail that you glanced at for 6 seconds before you threw it in the trash? We do these things because it’s a quick way to get a candidate’s name out in the public eye, but what makes a major impact on voters is personal contact. 

Here is what I need you to do!

During break come to the SEA office to phone bank for our candidates. We will be phone-banking Monday through Thursday, from 4-6 pm. We would love campaign crews to sign up at this website; we can always accommodate any individuals! Additionally, we will also be walking precincts every Saturday. Bring a friend, meet at the SEA office at 8:30am, and precinct walk from 9am to noon. 

Why is it so critical to do this during break?

 We still think of elections as happening in November; however, 54% of the voters in our district are permanent mail voters. Those ballots arrive in mailboxes the first week of October. If we dont get the word out for our candidates over break, we will miss a substantial number of voters. We can’t afford to do that. Not when two former board members are running for their seats again! Not when other candidates indicated the desire to tie evaluations to student test scores or expand charter opportunities! Do you want more of the same? Please help shape the future of our District.