Thursday, September 30, 2010

We Have a Contract!

Thanks to the dedication of your JEA Negotiations Team for bringing about an agreement for the 2010-2011 school year!  The entire process took about five months and more than 130 hours of volunteer time.  JEA went through the mediation process with Federal Mediator Lavonne Ritter in July. 

When a settlement could not be reached, JEA and Jordan District went to the final step allowed by law, a Hearing.  This is the first time in Utah that a local Association and a School District have gone to a Hearing.  What your JEA Negotiations Team did was groundbreaking and precedent setting for other local Associations throughout Utah.

Superintendent Larry Shumway appointed Dr. Ralph Haws as the Hearing Officer. Dr. Haws' support of teachers and his relationship with District Administration helped him bring the two sides to an agreement.  Remember that through a Hearing, neither side receives everything they want.  JEA Members officially ratified the agreement as of September 27, 2010.  If you read the minutes, once they are posted, of the School Board meeting from September 28, 2010, you will see that a couple of School Board members were not happy about using one time money from the Federal Jobs Fund Program to pay for the ongoing costs of steps and lanes.  Despite their concerns, the Board voted 7-0 in favor of approving the agreement.

There is a story behind each item in the agreement.  I would be happy to share the history of any item on which you have questions.  Also, classified employees and principals will be receiving their steps increases because of what JEA negotiated for teachers. 

Settlement Agreement between the Jordan District Board of Education and the Jordan Education Association 2010-11

1.  Salary Schedule Lane and Step increases will be provided to teachers for the 2010-11 school year.  The parties agree that the Board of Education will determine at its sole discretion the source of funding for lanes and steps.

2.  Beginning with the 2010-11 school year, the equivalent of nine hours pay, or 0.6%, will be included in the teacher salary schedule for grade transmittal, preparation, and track change.  Teachers will still be required to meet all deadlines and responsibilities regarding grade preparation and transmittal, classroom and personal preparation for the first day of school, school closing, and end-of-year check out.

3.  The parties agree that there will be no negotiations for Lane and Step increases or cost of living increases for the 2011-12 school year unless the State Legislature provides new and unencumbered fund specifically for employee salary and benefit increases. (Because the increases for 010-11 will most likely be funded through one-time funds, the Board will be required to find ways to fund the increases as an ongoing expense; therefore, both parties will work hard to lobby the State Legislature to increase education funding for next year.)

4.  Revisions will be made to the following negotiated policies:
    a.  AS67 NEG Discipline of Students:  Language changes reflect a change in practice by the District when student sanctions and interventions are deemed necessary.
    b.  DP309 NEG Salary Guidelines:  Clarification regarding credit for salary lane change will be granted only "from an accredited institution".
    c.  DP337 NEG Leave of Absence:  Change to require approval prior to the leave being taken.
    d.  DP327 NEG Reduction in Licensed Staff:  Adds the words "total continuous" before "District seniority".
    e.  DP304 NEG Teacher Transfers:  Includes the Jordan District website link for transfer forms, deletes the need to submit a resume as part of the transfer application process, and allows for the employee to continue to "interview for other positions" through the voluntary transfer process.

5.  Part II. C. of Policy A6 NEG Negotiations, Licensed and Classified was amended to require the employee agent groups to reimburse the District for the cost of paid association leave for eh purposes of negotiations.  The amended language reads:
    C.  The District shall comply with Utah Code 53A-3-425 and will require reimbursement to the school district of the cost of paid association leave activities to the extent required by the Code.  Employee agent groups will be allowed a maximum of six (6) days to complete the negotiations process.

6.  A joint committee with up to three representatives from the JEA and up to three District administrators will be formed to review and discuss issues related to working conditions of teachers.  Membership on the committee, the regularity of meetings, and agenda items shall be determined by the Superintendent and the JEA President.  This joint committee will function through June 30, 2012.

7.  The District Superintendent agrees to meet with the JEA President on a regular basis to discuss issues of mutual concern throughout the 2010-11 school year.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

School Visit and Meeting Prep

I spent lunch today at Rosamond Elementary.  There is a great JEA staff there with a supportive principal and JEA Vice President Kevin Ball.  I enjoyed talking to the teachers, answering questions, and listening to great ideas shared by everyone.

I prepared for next week's Executive Board meeting, which will involve serious budget discussions.

Be sure to check out the Facebook page at JEA on Facebook for updates during School Board Meetings and current news articles.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Waiting for Superman

I'm sure some of you have heard about this new movie that opened in New York and Los Angeles this past weekend.  I am inserting here the information I have at this point from NEA.  If you see the film, I would like to hear from you.

Talking Points on “Waiting for Superman”
NEA’s reaction to the film

About the Film
Who: This film was made by “Inconvenient Truth” producer Davis Guggenheim. It features footage of NEA President Dennis Van Roekel from NEA’s Representative Assembly, as well as extensive interviews with AFT President Randi Weingarten. The film’s promotion web site is found at:

When and Where: “Waiting for Superman” is scheduled for public release on September 24, 2010 in New York City and Los Angeles. It is scheduled for nationwide release the week of October 3.

Why: Guggenheim says he made “Waiting for Superman” to encourage the same level of national discourse on public education that “An Inconvenient Truth” generated on climate change. NEA and its state and local affiliates welcome others to the same discussion we’ve been having for years. In an effort to encourage a more thoughtful and thorough discussion, Association leaders have agreed to participate in panel discussions following film screenings. NEA is also exploring ways to leverage the film’s properties, including its web site and other outreach vehicles, to focus attention on our Priority Schools Program and our work around collaboration.

General Comments
• NEA and its 3.2 million members welcome and encourage filmgoers to join us in our mission of making great public schools for every student.
• NEA affiliates and individual members have consistently advocated for the basic right of all students to attend great public schools, and we hope the film inspires more Americans to become engaged in a larger discussion about the shared responsibility for ensuring that America has a public education system that prepares all of our children, not just some of them, to live and compete in a global society.
• “Waiting for Superman” is a film that evokes strong emotions. It tells the story of injustice in America’s education system—a story that teachers and education support professionals have been telling for years. We are delighted that more people are talking about these issues, and generating ideas about how improve our nation’s public schools for all students.
• In many places, the situation is urgent, so for those new to the conversation, the impulse is to recommend simple, silver-bullet solutions. Of course, the challenges our public schools face are myriad and complex and in most cases there are no quick and easy fixes. NEA seeks solutions that are research-based, collaborative, and sustainable.
• “Waiting for Superman” raises some important issues, but we should be careful not to allow a 90-minute film to define how we talk about improving public education – our children and our nation deserve a more meaningful discussion about how we prepare for the future.
• To a large extent, the film misses the point by over simplifying complex issues. Ultimately, it’s just a film, and as such it lacks the depth and factual, research-based policy analysis required to have a meaningful discussion about what’s best for every public school student in America. That said, we certainly appreciate that it has helped to spark a larger conversation about education.

Importance of Community Engagement in School Improvement
• We commend the film’s call to action on behalf of America’s public schools. Community involvement is crucial to ensuring that every child has access to great public schools.

Teachers, Unions and School Innovation
• For centuries, educators and their unions have led the fight for change and innovation in America’s public schools.
• While there are struggling public schools, there are also public schools across the country that help children from all backgrounds reach great academic heights. In them, unheralded teachers are doing extraordinary things every day. Unfortunately, this film did not feature those schools or teachers. It was a missed opportunity to shed light on the good that is happening in our public schools.
• Rather than waiting for Superman, responsible and caring adults must find ways to work together to make sure that teachers have the tools and resources they need to do their jobs well. We must develop and support the teachers to whom we entrust our children’s future.

Importance of Collaboration in School Improvement
• Waiting for Superman says important things about the challenges of the public education system. However, the reductive messaging—“charters are good” and “teachers unions are bad”—oversimplifies complicated issues and threatens to thwart thoughtful discussions about improving public schools. Improving public education is a shared responsibility—parents, teachers, administrators, elected officials, and other adults must come together to determine how to make schools in their community great. Unfortunately, this is not reflected in the film’s tone, which is divisive rather than collaborative.

General Flaws with the Film
• The film promotes nostalgia for a school system of years past, seemingly forgetting past inequities like segregated schools; institutionalization of children with disabilities; and marginalization of and discrimination against female teachers and teachers of color.
• The film glosses over the negative effects of testing mania and Bush-era reforms (NCLB) and ignores the impact of these so-called reforms on certain student populations, such as students with disabilities and rural students.
• The film promotes charter schools as the silver bullet to improve public education, even as it admits that only one charter school in five is more effective than a traditional public school. There is absolutely no discussion of the research confirming that public schools generally outperform charter schools.
• The film’s producer interviewed experts who are uniformly anti-union—mostly “reformers” who believe teachers’ unions are the main obstacle to great public schools. Guggenheim does not interview a single superintendent or politician who has a collaborative relationship with the union where real transformation has taken place (like in Chattanooga, Columbus, OH, Denver and other places.)
• The film blindly supports the Administration’s “reforms” without displaying any real understanding of the issues at hand.

“Waiting for Superman” Super Myths
A closer look at the film and its flaws

Super Myth #1: Teacher unions are “bad” but teachers are “good”
While acknowledging the many issues facing public education, in a sometimes animated and entertaining manner, “Waiting for Superman” concludes that teacher unions and teacher contracts are destroying the schools. Teacher unions are portrayed as “bad” and teachers as “good.” (Guggenheim fails to understand that the teachers ARE the union, they are the members. Teachers elect the union leaders. Teachers approve the negotiated contract.)

Although the movie tries to detach teachers from the teachers’ union, by portraying teacher unions as the root of all evil in public education, Guggenheim is, in essence, placing the blame on teachers. Those interviewed in the film are uniformly anti-union—mostly “reformers” who believe teachers unions are the main obstacle to great public schools. Guggenheim does not interview a single superintendent or politician who has a collaborative relationship with the union where real transformation has taken place (like in Chattanooga, Columbus OH, or Denver and other places.)

Super Myth #2: Charter schools are a magic, silver bullet solution
NEA believes that charter schools and other nontraditional public school options have the potential to facilitate positive transformation and foster creative teaching methods that can be replicated in traditional public schools for the benefit of all students. By definition, charter schools are free from many of the restrictions placed on traditional public schools. The innovative ideas that make some charter schools successful stem from the very issues NEA members have long identified as things they want to change about public education.

Charter schools are only able to serve a small percentage of the student population, and only one in five charter schools outperform traditional public schools. In fact, research suggests that two in five charter schools perform worse than traditional public schools.

Recent films have suggested that charter schools are the only way we can improve public education, but even well-known proponents of charter schools are critical of these films:

“Movies that sell charter schools as a salvation are peddling a simple-minded remedy that takes us back to the worst charter puffery of a decade ago, is at odds with the evidence, and can blind viewers to what it takes to launch and grow truly great charters. These flicks accelerate the troubling trend of turning every good idea into a morale crusade, so that retooling K-12 becomes a question of moral rectitude in which we choose sides and “reformers” are supposed to smother questions about policy or practice. They also wildly romanticize charters, charter school teachers, and the kids and families, making it harder to speak honestly or bluntly.” (Rick Hess, education commentator, American Enterprise Institute. His complete article can be found at:

Charter schools are one solution, but schools across the country are benefitting from a range of exciting, new ideas that are the result of communities working together to improve their local schools. NEA’s Priority Schools Campaign supports schools that are thinking about education differently—from teacher-led schools in Denver, to service learning in Ohio, to teacher-mentoring in Michigan—school districts are working collaboratively with local unions to improve teaching and learning.

Super Myth #3: Unions are unwilling to commit to “common sense” solutions
America’s public education system has recently captured the attention and imagination of lawmakers, newscasters, commentators, filmmakers and the general public. NEA welcomes others to join this large and very important national conversation.

In many places, the situation is urgent, so for those new to the conversation, the impulse is to recommend simple, silver-bullet solutions. Of course, the challenges our public schools face are myriad and complex. NEA seeks solutions that are based on research, collaborative, and are well-planned and executed.

Smaller class-sizes; increased teacher autonomy and flexibility; higher status for the teaching profession; improved teacher quality and professional development programs; broader support and involvement by parents and the community; adequate tools and resources; modernized schools —these are things we know, from research and experience, will improve our nation’s schools. All schools should have the tools and resources necessary to help all students succeed – students shouldn’t have to rely on chance or a lottery to get a quality education that prepares them to succeed in life. NEA members are eager to receive the support that is needed to ensure all students, not just a few, have access to quality public schools.

Because NEA members are in schools and classrooms every day, we are also aware of the challenges our public schools face, and we are eager to have collaborative discussions to help determine ways that we can work with parents, community organizations, elected officials, and other concerned adults to benefit America’s students. Educating our children is a shared responsibility, and the debate over how best we do that should be cooperative, not divisive.

Super Myth #4: Unions don’t represent the opinions of their own members, and only exist to protect “bad” teachers
The nation’s teachers unions—NEA and AFT—comprise more than four million individual members: teachers and education support professionals, students preparing to be teachers, higher education personnel and retired educators. At NEA, policy is debated and agreed to among democratically elected members—our members’ opinions are diverse, and collectively they set the organization’s agenda at the local, state, and national levels.

NEA members’ dues are spent on a range of priorities, which are democratically and collectively agreed upon each year during the organization’s annual Representative Assembly, in which nearly 10,000 members participate. These priorities include developing effective teacher evaluation systems; providing funding and support for innovative projects through our Priority Schools Campaign; establishing guidelines for improving teacher quality; working to decrease school drop-out rates and lobbying for increased funding for school construction, special education, school nutrition and other important programs that help improve the quality public education in America.

Nobody—especially NEA’s members—want teachers in the classrooms who do not help students to learn and prepare for the future. NEA’s membership has been at the forefront of developing and implementing ways to improve teacher quality, including exciting evaluation methods, peer mentoring, and effective professional development. Union contracts are the result of meetings, negotiations, and agreements between the administration, school board, and the bargaining unit. Due to the current economic climate, school employees have agreed to pay freezes, furlough days, and a number of other concessions so that districts can continue to meet their ever-shrinking budgets, without unduly shortchanging students.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Good and Busy Day

I went on a school visit to Herriman High for lunch.  I spent the afternoon contacting locations that still do not have an AR.  I hope to hear from a volunteer at each location soon.  I cleared a pile of issues off my desk!  This afternoon was the Year Round Committee. 

Here is a Deseret News article about the superintendent input meeting from last night.  I will not be able to attend until the one on Wednesday, October 6.  If anyone went to the one this evening, I'd like to hear your take on the comments made.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Do you really want a change?

I have heard from many members and nonmembers alike that they would like to see a change on the School Board, in the State Legislature, and that they are looking forward to a change in Superintendent. Now is the time to act to help that change happen. We must actively support School Board and State Legislative candidates who will be friendly to education in general and to teachers specifically. We must provide input to the current School Board on what qualifications, characteristics, focus, and compensation we would like the new Superintendent to have.

JEA sponsored a walk for three candidates on Saturday. We had a total of six people show up. There were 15 people at the meeting on for input on the new superintendent last night. If you don’t act now, we will have the same problems at the legislative level for two more years and for four years at the local school board level. If you don’t attend a meeting or complete the survey about the new superintendent, we could have a new educational leader whom you do not like.

The next JEA Walk for Candidates is scheduled for Saturday, October 23 in the morning. Put that date on your calendar now. If you cannot come that day, candidates are out campaigning every Saturday. You can contact them directly, or contact us and we will let the campaign know of your desire to help.

JEA Recommended Candidates:
  • Nathan Gedge in School Board Precinct 3 (Peggy Jo Kennett's seat) Nathan's website
  • John Rendell (D) in Legislative House Seat 47 (West Jordan area that used to be Steve Mascaro's seat) John's website
  • Chad Reyes (unaffiliated) in Legislative House Seat 52 (Herriman, Carl Wimmer's seat) Chad's website
  • Gary Olsen (D) in Legislative House Seat 50 (South Jordan, Merlynn Newbold's seat) Gary's website
  • Dave Hogue (D) in Legislative Senate Seat 11 (Riverton/Draper, Howard Stephenson's seat) Dave's website
  • Jim Bird (R) in Legislative House Seat 42 (West Jordan, incumbent) Jim's website
Make sure you have your voice heard on the new superintendent. Attend one of the upcoming meetings listed  here or submit your suggestions through the online survey by Friday, October 8.

If every member does one thing they have not done before, we can make a huge difference.

School visits

I have enjoyed the visits I have made to various schools over the last few weeks.  I like meeting all of the great teachers and seeing how each school is run.  I am learning a lot about middle and high schools.  I look forward to visiting the remainder of the schools by the end of this school year.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Member Appreciation Barbeque

The JEA Member Appreciation Barbeque was yesterday evening at Wheeler Farm.  We had a great turnout from the combined Jordan, Canyons, and Granite Education Associations and Classified Associations.  It was good to catch up with old friends and meet new ones, including recommended candidates.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Salt Lake Tribune Articles on Superintendent Salaries

Check out the two articles in the Salt Lake Tribune this morning about the salaries of superintendents. You'll learn a lot about Superintendent Newbold's and Mr. Jolley's contracts.

Is Superintendent Pay Too Super?

Utah Superintendent Pay Well Below National Average

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Council of Local Presidents Meeting

I hope the Walk for Candidates was successful today. I was unable to walk, because I had a Council of Local Presidents meeting. We were shown and given a copy of a DVD about the UEA TEF/EDX message. The DVD was well done and featured Jordan's own, Karen Gorringe. I will be working on a distribution plan.

We discussed the Education Jobs Fund money. I will be sending a link out so you can contact your state representatives to request that the money be accepted and be flowing to the individual districts sooner rather than later.

I was able to report that we have reached a tentative settlement. Some districts still haven't settled and are just now going to mediation.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Busy Day at the Office

I spent today responding to e-mails, trying to find ARs for a couple of locations, organizing committees, and reviewing the budget.  I hope some of you can make it to one of the Walk for Candidates tomorrow!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

JEA Walk for Candidates

If you want to see a change on the School Board and at the State Legislature, we need to work together now for education friendly candidates.  We will be walking on Saturday, September 18 in the morning.  The schedule is below.  If you can come, please e-mail me so we can let the candidates know how many volunteers to expect.

Nathan Gedge (School Board Precinct 7 against Peggy Jo Kennett) 
2794 W. 7550 S.                   8:30 a.m.

John Rendell (Legislative House Seat 47 against Ken Ivory, Steve Mascaro's old seat)
Midvale Elementary, 362 W. Center Street               9:45 a.m.

Chad Reyes (Legislative House Seat 52 against Carl Wimmer)
Rosalina Park, 13550 S. 5775 W. (Take 13400 S from Bangerter and head west past 5600 W. (Smith’s), turn left on Rosalina 5775 W.)                         9:00 a.m.

Legislative Money

I received a memo today that said teachers will be able to be reimbursed for $50 beginning October 1.  There is no mention of additional money after that amount.  Remember, the Legislature cut the fund by 50%, and there are more teachers who are entitled to the money, so everyone will receive less money.  Save your receipts!

School Visits

I went on a couple of great school visits today to West Jordan Middle School and Majestic Elementary.  I enjoyed talking with the teachers and answering their questions about the tentative settlement and other issues.  I am going to be visiting each school this year.  I look forward to meeting with our members!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

General Membership Meeting

Thanks to the approximately 150 members who attended the Contract Settlement General Membership Meetings this afternoon.  ARs will be receiving ballots with copies of the agreement next Monday, September 20.  All voting must be completed and ballots returned to the JEA Office or to the JEA Mailbox at the ASB by 5:00 p.m. by Monday, September 27. 

If you were unable to attend, ask your AR for information.  I have sent them the PowerPoint from today's meeting.

Salt Lake Tribune article about our tentative settlement.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Superintendent Newbold is Retiring

At the School Board Meeting tonight, Board President Peggy Jo Kennett stated that the Board had received a letter from Superintendent Newbold announcing that he is retiring effective January 1, 2011. 

The Board will be hosting six meetings for public input purposes and plans to announce the new superintendent on December 14.

See Salt Lake Tribune Article.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Education Jobs Fund Program

Because the Governor has made application for the funds and because of the bill’s language, UEA feels the money should flow directly to the local school districts without delay.

From the UEA level, we are taking the following steps:
· Contacting the Governor’s office to express our concern with expediting the distribution of the monies
· Contacting the State School Boards’ Association and the PTA to engage their organizations in this effort
· Engaging our members in a letter writing campaign utilizing the following link at this website in order to e-mail their legislative representatives
· Engaging members in contacting their local school board members, School Community Councils, and PTA asking them to join us in our efforts to request immediate allocation of the Ed Job monies to the local school districts in order to positively impact the students in Utah
· Participating in NEA Jobs Bill conference calls to obtain up-to-date information and strategies

Please use the link above to e-mail your state legislators and ask them to distribute the Education Jobs Funds in a timely manner.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Jump Start Coalition

The Utah Jump$tart Coalition is hosting the annual $tart $mart Teachers Summit on November 5, 2010 at the University Marriott in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is a free training event for K-12 teachers that offers substitute reimbursement up to $75, mileage reimbursement for Title I teachers,and 0.5 USOE Re-certification/Lane Change credit. The purpose of the Summit is to help teachers integrate financial literacy education into core curriculum and understand the Utah requirements for finance education for grades K-12.

You can resgister online at Jump $tart or you can call  Anne Tibbitts at 801-414-9981.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Contract Settlement General Membership Meetings

The JEA Negotiations Team and the Jordan District Administration, through the work of hearing officer Dr. Ralph Haws, have reached a tentative agreement. Superintendent Newbold will be presenting the settlement to the School Board for their approval at their closed study session on Tuesday, September 14.

JEA will hold two General Membership Meetings to present the settlement to members on Wednesday, September 15 in the Elk Ridge Middle School Auditorium. One meeting will begin at 3:30 and one will begin at 4:30. The same information will be presented at each meeting.

If you want to know what the Negotiations Team has spent 130+ hours and nearly five months on, be in attendance.

Legislative Council (AR) Meeting

Last night we had a good Legislative Council Meeting.  Most schools were represented.  We discussed local building concerns, PAC (political action), and negotiations.

13 ARs signed up to walk for JEA recommended candidates on Saturday, September 18.  You can sign up too!  Just ask your AR, RSVP on Facebook, or e-mail me.  You can choose the candidate you would like to help.  Watch the blog for meeting locations.

I want to thank he awesome ARs at the following schools for completing both of their homework assignments.  If your school isn't listed, go ask your AR about their roster and PTA/SCC contact forms.
  • Bingham, Riverton High, Iteneris, JATC, Valley, Elk Ridge, Oquirrh Hills, South Hills, West Jordan Middle, Rose Creek, South Jordan Elementary, West Jordan Elementary, Daybreak, Eastlake, Elk Meadows, Jordan Ridge, Terra Linda

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

JEA Walk for Candidates

Do you want to see a change in the face of the School Board or the State Legislature? Join other JEA members to walk for our endorsed candidates. Have breakfast and have fun walking to support those who will support us!

We will walk for JEA endorsed candidates on Saturday, September 18 beginning around 9 for two to three hours.

RSVP on the Facebook event at JEA on Facebook

Friday, September 3, 2010

Meetings, Meetings, and More Meetings

Today is a much calmer day.  I am catching up, because I didn't have time to answer e-mails yesterday, let alone post to the blog.  Here is how Thursday looked.

7:00 a.m. - Attended Jordan Education Foundation Meeting.  The Foundation raises money to give grants to individual teachers and scholarships to students.  They are considering whole school projects as well.  A JEF representative should be contacting principals to ask about wants.  Here is a link to the  JEF Mini Grant Application.
Superintendent Newbold said the new elementary in West Jordan will open next August.  He stated that local principals should work with their PTA and SCC to decide on if/when to broadcast President Obama's speech to school children, scheduled for September 14.  An opt-out form must be provided.

Arrived at the JEA office and started to answer e-mail when Cindy Carroll and I went to meet with UEA leaders about the hearing process.  We met with UEA President, Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, UEA Executive Director, Mark Mickelsen, UEA Director of Policy & Research, Jay Blain, and UEA Attorney, Mike McCoy.  UEA has been involved in knowing what has happened with our negotiations process and is helping us through the hearing, because no other school district has done this before.  In addition, Sharon contacted NEA for us to see about financial assistance to pay the hearing officer fees.  NEA has agreed to match state and local funds.    All levels of the Association have been involved.

11:15 a.m. - The Hearing Officer, Ralph Haws, called and wanted to meet immediately.  Cindy and I headed to Riverton High School where our Negotiations Chairperson, Melissa Brown teaches.  Luckily, we met on her prep hour to discuss a modified proposed settlement.  Worked to contact all Negotiations Team members throughout the afternoon.

1:45 - Back to the office for a monthly meeting with both UniServ Directors and CEA President, Tony Romanello.

3:30 - Out to South Jordan Elementary for a school visit.  The teachers there asked good questions, and it was great to meet them.

4:30 - Now to West Jordan High where we held the JEA PAC meeting to discuss candidate recommendations and PAC support.  The JEA PAC is recommending:
  • Nathan Gedge in School Board Precinct 7 (Peggy Jo Kennett's seat) Nathan's website
  • John Rendell (D) in Legislative House Seat 47 (West Jordan area that used to be Steve Mascaro's seat) John's website
  • Chad Reyes (unaffiliated) in Legislative House Seat 52 (Herriman, Carl Wimmer's seat) Chad's website
  • Gary Olsen (D) in Legislative House Seat 50 (South Jordan, Merlynn Newbold's seat) Gary's website
  • Dave Hogue (D) in Legislative Senate Seat 11 (Riverton/Draper, Howard Stephenson's seat) Dave's website
  • Jim Bird (R) in Legislative House Seat 42 (West Jordan, incumbent) Jim's website
Two walk for candidates are scheduled for Saturdays, September 18 and October 23 in the mornings.  More information on exact times and places will be forth coming.

8:00 p.m. - The Negotiations Team felt the Executive Board needed to know about the latest proposed settlement, but due to personal schedules, we could not meet in person.  We were able to have two Executive Board members present, with one on speaker phone.  Others were contacted by phone individually, but all Executive Board members were able to hear the proposal, ask questions, and express concerns.

I finally arrived home about 9:30 p.m.  It was a long day, a tiring day, but also an exciting day!  The work of the Association is important, and I am enjoying it immensely, even though at times, it can be difficult.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Busy Day

This was my first full day in the JEA office since school started last week.  I planned the Legislative Council (AR) Meeting and Executive Board Meeting for next week.  I answered several e-mails and a few phone calls about negotiations and some local school problems. 

The JEA Negotiations Team met again with the hearing officer, Ralph Haws, as part of the fact finding process. We continue to fight for lanes and steps. Additional information will be forth coming in the next few days.

Dual Endorsement in Governor's Race

As you may have seen in both the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, UEA has endorsed both candidates for Utah Governor.  The following is information provided by UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh on the dual endorsement.

Why A Dual Endorsement?
1.     Both Mayor Corroon and Governor Herbert have identified public education as a priority in their campaigns. This is a positive for the Utah Education Association.
·       Corroon has involved UEA members in a summit designed to create a long-term plan for public education. He also recognizes the necessity of renewing our commitment to adequately fund public schools following the Great Recession. Corroon’s education platform uses pieces of the Association’s TEF message. He has a dynamic Lt. Governor running mate – Sheryl Allen – who knows the issues facing education. He is willing to look at current tax structure issues. He is anti-voucher.
·       Herbert placed a UEA representative on his Education Excellence Commission. He successfully argued in favor of ongoing funding, and against further cuts in public education, during the 2010 legislative session. He has committed to seek $101 million in federal funding related to the Jobs Bill. He has offered to help us overcome some of the attacks leveled at the Association. He has told us his door is always open. He is the first governor to have requested a meeting with the UEA Board of Directors.

2.     Both Governor Herbert and Mayor Corroon appeared before U-PAC and shared their ideas about education.
·       Both candidates asked for and actively sought an endorsement.

3.     A majority of U-PAC members voted for a dual endorsement.
·       U-PAC members represent every geographic region of the state.
·       Prior to a decision, full discussions were held at both the July and August 2010 U-PAC meetings.
·       Following the July U-PAC meeting, members were asked to discuss the gubernatorial race in their locals and UniServs. This information was shared and discussed.
·       U-PAC voting confirms the democratic nature of the organization.
·       Input was solicited from a number of sources.

What About Vouchers?
1.     Herbert told the UEA Board and U-PAC he believes the public has spoken and vouchers are dead.
2.     While Herbert played a role in the certification of anti-voucher petitions, it was the Utah Legislature that passed the voucher bill.
3.     Corroon is against vouchers.

Shouldn’t We Support Only Corroon? He Is Using The Association’s TEF Message?
1.     Corroon is using pieces of the TEF message. We are appreciative that he is willing to look at the current tax structure and examine problems associated with the systematic ‘defunding’ of public schools.
2.     Both Corroon and Herbert recognize the importance of investing in public schools to grow the economy.
3.     The UEA is planning to meet with Governor Herbert to talk about TEF.

Isn’t A Dual Endorsement A “Chicken” Way Out?
1.     Quite the contrary. It’s a win-win for candidates and a win-win for members. Both candidates have identified public education as a priority in their campaigns. Both have shown support for Association principles and ideas.
2.     By making a dual endorsement, we are saying both candidates have good qualities. We are giving our members a chance to weigh the pros and cons of each candidate and decide for themselves who will best serve the needs of students and educators throughout the state.
3.     We will provide a side-by-side comparison of the candidates for our members, and include the Association’s positions on various critical education issues.
4.     We recognize that the relationship we have with the governor is critical to moving our public education agenda forward.
5.     Education requires bi-partisan cooperation.