SUSD Live – Public comment

Trustee President Kathy Garcia said “I know there’s been some confusion, but we have a three minute rule. The governor could be here right now, and he would get three minutes.”

Then some public comment and then some teachers, starting with a woman named Tracy whose last name I didn’t catch. She talked about spending many hours grading papers and other duties performed by teachers. She said the economy has improved and other districts have signed contracts that, at least in part, shows some appreciation. She asked for a “fair contract.”

Next, Lucinda Mendosa spoke in Spanish. Through a translator she said that parents at Monroe School want a bi-lingual aide to make sure all the students can succeed.

Another teacher, now. Didn’t say her name. She started in 1997, and has always felt blessed and privileged to work with students. When she started working, she didn’t make a lot of money and didn’t expect to. She ate out maybe, twice a week. Now – she doesn’t shop at Safeway or buy beef unless its on sale. Her husband doesn’t work any longer so she’s her sole provider. Medical is up and other things are more expensive too. She said “we just want what our due is.”

Justin Grant at the microphone now. He said he’s concerned over class sizes. He’s also worried about some other funding streams and how things have been presented regarding the LCFF. He hasn’t seen “full and honest disclosure.”

A woman from California Legal Assistance – said the LCFF money must be spent on students from poor families and English learners – and that the district must engage stakeholders. She said there has been confusion and misinformation on what hearings are supposed to be had and on the information that should be provided to parents and others from the public. She said she urges the district to be precise and accurate in all its LCFF reporting.

The mother of Grace Hernandez came up to talk – said she was there to speak on her daughter’s behalf. She said she doesn’t live lavishly or buy name brand things. She doesn’t have the money to buy her kids things but her mom doesn’t have the money for it. She said it’s because her wages are not competitive. Grace finally came up. She looks very young – and she didn’t speak. Grace’s mom then said “what she was going to say was ‘if you know my mama like I know my mama, she will walk.”

Ellen Old is speaking now – she’s the teachers union president. All the teachers are standing now. She said the school year is “discouragingly unresolved” and said the district has not bargained in good faith. She said the district has money to raise salaries this year and next – saying the district has $44 million above budget and will eventually have more than $100 million in reserve (30 percent by 2016).  “How do our teachers return to school knowing how little they are valued in this district,” she asked.

Old continued that she can’t be optimistic when the district is willing to spend $3.4 million on Chromebooks and only $1.7 million on teachers. She said the district has more money than any other in the area, but can’t come to a contract deal.

- Tom Amato and two other men spoke about the LCFF money should be used for children who are either poor or English learners. They want new services. They aren’t opposed to teacher raises, but want to make sure programs are provided with LCFF money ($14 million).

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