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Protesting the board

The PUHSD teachers union had hundreds of people out picketing at the board meeting Thursday night. They met about a half mile from the board meeting, then picketed down Central to the meeting.

It was cool to see that much involvement. I asked and was told that there are about 1400 teachers in the district. That means the CTA might've had over 20% of the teachers show up to picket.

Inside we could hear them cheering out things like "CTA" and "It's not about the money." throughout the meeting.

The heart of the issue is that there has been a mutually agreed upon professional agreement in place between the teachers and PUHSD for decades and the school board has decided to summarily throw it out.

The school board has voted instead to implement a "handbook". As I understand it the terms of the "handbook" would be subject to the whims of the school board, so teachers would essentially have no protections. Many of the protections in the professional agreement are reported to have been pulled out.

I say "reported" because the school board wouldn't let the teachers see the "handbook". The teachers are flying blind because the school board won't let them know what's in the book.

What's even worse is the remarks from the board president, Will Hill, made right before the vote about the proposal to replace the professional agreement with the "handbook". Hill mentioned that if teachers would just read the "handbook" they'd see it's a good document. A funny thing to say when he'd acted to keep the teachers from being able to see the "handbook".

I'm puzzled by a statement from board member Doug Thomas, "We're not responsible for making anyone a citizen." I really doubt the professional agreement claims that the school district has the power to override the federal government and hand out citizenship. Apparently, however, the professional agreement does say that the school will teach good citizenship. Perhaps Mr. Thomas is confused.

When board member Steve Gallardo lauded the teachers for practicing their first amendment rights board member Linda Abril applauded. Unfortuantely, she still voted against the teachers :(.

There were TV and print reporters there. The CTA president mentioned the protest was the top story on Channel 5 that night.

I also wrote up a more detailed account.