Last week, the School Board approved an agreement with the San Carlos Teachers Association (SCTA) by a 3-2 vote.  This agreement included a 2% raise, retroactive to 2013 and an increase in health benefits.  This was the result of a lengthy and often divisive negotiation.  I voted in favor of this agreement because I believe it is important to move forward and it is my hope that we can start in a fresh and positive way with SCTA.  

We have many great teachers in our district and I would love to pay them more, but we also have to face the realities of our budget.  Our school district is one of the lowest funded in San Mateo County and we have been deficit spending the past several years. This agreement will help our teachers who are a critical asset to the success of our schools.  It also puts the District in a strained financial situation, particularly a couple of years from now as our reserve fund is further depleted.  We must remain mindful of our budget and show the fiscal restraint necessary to appropriately manage the District's finances.    

I have included my remarks from the last week's Board meeting on the agreement with SCTA below, as well as links to two articles on the topic as additional perspectives. 

While I am glad that we have an agreement with SCTA, I am disappointed in how the negotiations played out over the past many months.  I am disappointed as a Board Member and I am disappointed as a parent.  

We have many excellent teachers in this District who work hard to educate our children.  Their dedication day in and day out is evident and I thank them for that.  Many of our teachers are embracing the strategic plan and moving forward with the vision that we mutually share to provide the best education for our students to prepare them for the challenges they will face in the future.  As partners in this effort, I believe we can accomplish great things.  

I support and respect the negotiation process and the efforts of SCTA to represent their constituents.  I felt it was wrong, though to hold the District hostage on class size.  It forced decisions and configurations, such as split classes with uneven gender and grade ratios, that were not in the best interest of our students, who should always be our number 1 priority.  Hopefully we can move on now and focus on what everyone wants, and that is to provide a high quality education for the children of this District. 

I did want to spend a minute on another topic related to negotiations and one that was most disheartening, unproductive and unnecessary.  Last month a press release was sent by some members of the SCTA leadership to the Daily Journal.  This release essentially accused the District and by default the Board of not acting in good faith during negotiations.  And that is just plain wrong.  I know that the District, myself and my colleagues negotiated in an honest and truthful manner.

I am going to vote for this agreement tonight.  I am going to vote for this agreement because we need to focus on this school year and to re-open this issue, does not benefit anyone, especially the children of this District.  I am going to vote for this agreement with the hope that we can start fresh and work together to achieve our mutual goal of providing the best education possible.