Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mediation Day 2

Mediation went from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. with a lunch break. Members will receive additional information through e-mail.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Open Enrollment

The Open Enrollment period for health insurance and flexible spending ends on Friday. Be sure to turn your forms into the District Office at Jordan Landing. If you are a new teacher and would like BasicMed coverage for the 60-day waiting period on the District insurance, you need to complete those forms along with a JEA membership form and return them to the JEA Office. You can send them through District Mail. Ask your building JEA Rep if you need help with this.

Mediation Day 1

Mediation lasted from 9:30 to 4:45 with a lunch break. Our mediator has many years of labor management experience and is straight forward with us. She went back and forth between the JEA Negotiations Team and the District Team. We will be back at it again tomorrow morning.

Monday, July 26, 2010


The Negotiations Team, including Melissa Brown, Janeen McMillan, Jeff Bossard, and Robin Frodge, met today to discuss strategy for mediation tomorrow. These teachers are volunteering three days of their summer break to work through this process on your behalf. Please thank them when you have a chance. I'll give you as much information as I can tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Roy Harward

This morning I met with Roy Harward, a candidate for the School Board in Precinct 3 currently held by Dr. Christensen. He wanted to meet with me to share some of his findings in his study of the budget. He has a finance background and has worked with companies like IBM to find places where there could be cost savings. He has done a lot of work comparing the 2008-2009 pre-split budget to the 2009-2010 budget to the proposed budget for 2010-2011.

It appears that in some categories the Final Amended budget numbers are much greater than the Approved budget numbers, and yet the Actual budget numbers are closer to the Approved budget than the Amended budget. He believes there should not be as much fluctuation within the budgets. He based his analysis on the assumption that we lost 40% of the students at the split, and so all budget categories should have been reduced by about 40%. Many areas were for the 2009-2010 year, and many more areas are since the lay-offs/non-hiring after employees retired for the 2010-2011 year.

There are a few areas which remain at or above pre-split levels. I will be doing more study of these areas to see if I can understand why the cuts have not been implemented there.

PAC will be meeting to decide which candidate to endorse in each of the three School Board races. JEA will make those endorsements public.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Meeting with Superintendent Newbold

In June, Superintendent Newbold asked if I would be willing to meet with him. That meeting happened today, and we had a good conversation. We started by discussing how we had each arrived at our current positions.

Mr. Newbold started as a 5th/6th grade teacher and also taught 4th grade. He was asked to be a district specialist over reading and math, which he did for a few years. He already had a master's degree in curriculum, but he went back to school for an administration certificate. He returned to the classroom teaching 6th grade. He applied for principal positions for several years without receiving one. He eventually became a principal and was principal of South Jordan Elementary when it became the second year round school in the District. From there he became a district specialist over assessment and evaluation. That position changed to a director through District restructuring. All of this lasted 20 years. He is now starting his 15th year as Superintendent.

We also discussed the problems facing the district. We both acknowledged that there is a deep chasm of distrust and no confidence between employees and the Board/administration. We would both like to bridge that chasm, but we understand it may become worse before it becomes better. We also recognize that the groups we represent may not be as eager to trust each other. He thinks the Board needs to work on re-establishing relationships and trust with all the stakeholders. He also believes that the first thing the Board needs to do once there is more money is to compensate employees.

He stated he is not anti-JEA, and he believes JEA plays a good and necessary role within the District. He also believes we have more in common than not, but that we have different perspectives on how to achieve the same objectives.

I left the meeting better understanding Superintendent Newbold as a person and in his role as the superintendent. I hope this is the beginning of civilized, respectful dialogue between the District and JEA.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Not what I hoped

After the two days of Year Round New Teacher Induction, we didn't gain as many members as I had hoped. I ask all of you in year round schools to talk to the new teachers about the benefits and importance of joining JEA. They were given an application in the packet we provided. For new teachers, JEA/UEA offers BasicMed, a 60-day medical insurance program that will provide coverage until the district insurance starts. Also, anyone who joins JEA between now and the end of September will be entered into a drawing for an 8 GB iPod Nano! Remind the new teachers of these benefits.

The Jordan UniServ office has had one president's office. With the split of the district, there are now two association presidents, one for Jordan and one for Canyons. The large president's office is being reconfigured to have two work spaces. This change is being paid for through the UniServ budget. This is happening in the next two weeks, so I will not be in the office, but I will be checking e-mail and voice mail from home.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

First Official Activities

My first few days in the JEA office have been focused on organizing and preparing for Year Round New Teacher Induction. We had 12 AR volunteers come talk to the new teachers about joining. We only received one membership form today. Not what we hoped for. Maybe tomorrow there will be more after the new teachers have had time to think about it.

The School Board meeting was last night. The most interesting part was the changes to the Copyright policy. They were presented for study last night and will be put on the agenda for approval at the next meeting, which has been moved from August 10 to August 17. You can see all of the proposed changes on the BoardDocs site. I have put a link on the blog, but you can also access it through the District website.

Go to "Board of Education." Click "Board Meetings." Just above the schedule of meetings it says For more detailed agenda information, visit Click "Enter Public Site." Click the + next to the date of the Board meeting you want more detailed information on. Click the + next to the part of the agenda you want to see.

For the Copyright policy, click "9. Discussion Items," then "B. Policy Review." From there you can view the pdf that shows all of the changes.

That site is very helpful in giving more details about the items on the Board meeting agenda that seem vague.

Also, I was posting updates on the JEA Facebook page throughout the Board meeting. This doesn't replace your attending a Board meeting or two this year, but hopefully, it will be a way to keep all of us informed.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

UEA Leadership Academy

"Speak for Tomorrow Today" was the theme of the two day UEA Leadership Academy held in Midway in June. Dennis Van Roekel, NEA President (pictured), was the keynote speaker. We also heard from a couple of NEA economists about the TEF/EDX messages. TEF stands for Taxes, Economic development, and Funding for education. EDX stands for EDucational eXcellence.

The link to the right (Speak for Tomorrow Today Presentations) will take you to presentations given by Dr. Pamela Perlich of the University of Utah, Mr. Stephen Kroes of the Utah Foundation, Dr. Richard Simms of NEA, and Dr. Dwight Holmes of NEA. Some of the presentations were made at the "Speak for Tomorrow Today" Economic Summit held in May. Others were from UEA Leadership Academy.

The message is that not adequately funding public education will have long term economic consequences. The presentations show how tax breaks to bring businesses to an area don't work. The key characteristic businesses look for is an educated work force. To determine if an area has an educated work force, 75% of businesses look at the quality of the public schools. Only 4% of businesses look at the tax incentives.

The cities comprising Jordan School District should want new businesses for their tax base. In order to attract those businesses, Jordan District schools need to maintain quality standards. In order to maintain quality standards, the School Board needs to raise taxes to keep programs and positions that help students. This cycle is positive.

If the School Board does not raise taxes, the quality of education in Jordan District could be compromised. Once that happens, businesses will not want to establish a site within District boundaries. If the schools are lower quality and there are not businesses in the area to service the residents, home values will decline, and people will not want to live in Jordan School District any longer. This cycle will be negative. I worry the negative impact won't be felt for many years, and by the time it is felt, salvaging Jordan District schools and communities will be much more difficult.

I encourage you to read through these presentations and think about the information presented. I believe this message needs to go to all stakeholders, from the School Board to parents to city councils to business owners.

Monday, July 12, 2010

So You Won the Election. Now What?

That was the title of the training I attended the first week of June in Washington D.C. It was presented by NCUEA (National Council of Urban Education Associations) through NEA. I met new local presidents from Green Bay to New Orleans and from Vancouver to Fairfax. The trainers were excellent!

We examined our leadership and communication styles, learned about messaging and organizing, discussed the best ways to address the School Board and the media, talked about NEA Member Benefits and the Truth about NEA, trained in Robert's Rules of Order, studied listening and interpersonal skills, and looked at ways to address the multi-generational needs of members in our Association.

The training was three-and-a-half intense days. At the end of the first day, NEA held a reception for us at the NEA Building. There we met Lily Eskelsen, NEA Vice President, and former GEA and UEA President. I was able to share with the others about Lily's career, because I have watched Lily for many years since she was UEA President when I began teaching.

I learned a lot of great tools through this training, and I will be using all of them! I still feel lost on Robert's Rules of Order, but I hope the ARs and the Executive Board will be forgiving when I mess up in meetings.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Starting out

Ever since being elected JEA President, I knew I wanted to start a blog. I have always supported JEA and believe in the cause of a great public school for every child. I recognize the work that has been done by my predecessors, most recently Robin Frodge. Each president brings something unique to JEA, and I hope to do the same.

I plan to chronicle my efforts advocating on your behalf as JEA President. I want all of you to see the little things done by the Association, so you know your dues dollars are well spent. If you want to see what is going on in JEA, use the link to the JEA Calendar on Google. I have put in JEA on the days I will be in the office or in the schools doing JEA work specifically. During the school year, I will be teaching Monday, Tuesday, and every other Friday, so those days do not say JEA.

I challenge each member to do something for the Association in the next school year that you haven't done before. If you have never been to a school board meeting, plan to attend one. If you have never worked on a political campaign, help a JEA endorsed candidate this fall. If you have never been the Association Representative (AR) in your building, volunteer. If you do not donate to PAC (Political Action Committee) sign up to start donating. If you have not met the School Board Member representing the area where your school is located or where you live, take the time to call or e-mail to introduce yourself. Wherever you are in your involvement with JEA, take it one step further this year!