Sunday, November 8, 2015

Enough is enough.

We're in a crisis here in our school district.  There's a lot of name calling and dishonesty over funds.  One of my coworkers penned this letter and is sending it into all the newspapers in addition to the board of trustees, but it's worth sharing here:
"CCSD Board of Trustees,
I am writing to you today on behalf of many fellow teachers who share similar concerns regarding the salary freezes, PERs cuts, salary schedule and the meager monetary contribution to our health care.
Perhaps the most troubling problem we have run in to is the failure on the part of CCSD board members to answer emails, return phone calls and address these issues with us. The lack of transparency about why and how decisions are made with respect to appropriated funds for education is appalling. The public sees the budget set aside by legislators for education and they assume it goes to pay raises for teachers, contributions to health care and investments into retirement plans. What they don't see is where the money ends up after the board has reallocated the funds to other areas.
Your failure to use Clark County's education budget to give teachers a respectable salary, contribute fairly to their health care costs and invest in their futures by contributing sufficiently to PERs is unacceptable. Your mission statement, "All students progress in school and graduate prepared to succeed and contribute in a diverse global society" should be considered at the very least unsupported, if not unrealistic considering the lack of reinforcement given to the people who actually make your vision a reality. Your priorities are undeniably out of order when there is a teacher shortage and yet decisions are made that make the profession less and less desirable. We are losing teachers and degrading the ones who stay. Many of us have to reconsider whether we can AFFORD to be teachers!
The blame is aimed at us when the community reads the data about graduation rates and test scores. The demand to improve this situation is placed on us. The insults and negative attitudes about Nevada's educators are directed toward us. The burden to do it all, while barely making enough money to buy groceries and pay for health care is placed on us.
Now we are all facing some big changes. Changes to our health care system and, as a result of salary freezes and health care costs rising, for many of us this may be our financial undoing.
Some of the board members may read this and maybe none of you will. The consensus among CCSD teachers is that you do not care. You attend events and thank us. You shake our hands and tell us that we are appreciated. You smile for photos with students that we work with, educate and care for everyday. Our students. Our works of art.
Now it is time for you to show us that we are appreciated. Smiles, visits and handshakes are great. Keep them coming, along with the salary increases our union respectfully requests, restoration of our PERs cuts, a larger contribution to our health care costs (a contribution comparable to that of other employers), compensation for our continued education that we obtained to help ready every child for graduation (we invested with the expectation that we were investing in a better income), compensation for our years of experience, and some basic sense of security and respect from the CCSD board of trustees!
Erika Barber"

I added my name to this list.  As of posting time, over 120 other educators have signed as well.
She contacted one of our state senators.  The rather rude response was the implication she was fabricating and that these other names were either falsified or she lacked permission to sign their names.  This is not the case, at all.  

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