Below is the text of a letter that was read at the Dec. 13 school board meeting:
As active, informed parents in the Alameda Unified School District, we are watching the deteriorating negotiations between the AEA and AUSD with increasing concern.
All of us are active volunteers in our children's classrooms and schools, as well as in the district at large. Many of us are friends with and/or collaborate with district employees, including teachers, staff, and administrators.
All of us supported Measure A and celebrated the profound unity on which the campaign was built. We also celebrated our community’s clear commitment to our teachers, administrators, and, most importantly, the children of Alameda that was expressed in the more than two-thirds vote in favor of Measure A last March.
Yet we fear the increasingly adversarial tone of negotiations now threatens to destroy that unity – and with it our children's education, our school communities, and the long-term stability of the district.
Because of this, we'd like to offer a few guiding principles to which we'd like to see both parties adhere as they move forward:
1. We value the work AUSD teachers do. We also value the work of our administrators. We ask both sides to similarly value each others’ contributions and conduct themselves respectfully and professionally. Please — especially —stop the personal attacks and inflammatory language in public.
2. We recognize teachers are underpaid. We also are cognizant the state budget is putting severe pressure on the state's public schools. We ask the district to look for ways to compensate our teachers fairly within the confines of a fiscally responsible budget plan.
3. We believe our teachers and our administrators share common interests. Please come to the bargaining table with a sincere desire to listen to each other, discover those common interests, and find mutually beneficial solutions, rather than taking adversarial positions.
4. Please keep talk of the negotiations out of all classrooms — from kindergarten through 12th grade.
5. Given that some students are aware of what's happening, we ask that you model professionalism, leadership, and conflict-resolution skills , so they can learn constructive ways of handling disagreements.
6. We ask that you not ask the parents to choose sides – we support our teachers and we respect our administrators. We are concerned with the health of the entire district and would like student welfare to be kept at the forefront of any discussion of programs or funding.
7. We ask that all discussions of AUSD’s budget be based on objective, accurate, and current data.
We also would like to see members of the Board of Education model leadership and professionalism on this volatile issue. You are charged with making the best decisions for our children and for the district as a whole ; your voice is our voice, the voice of the community. As such, we want to see you bringing the two sides together, rather than pushing them farther apart or falling prey to the existing divisiveness.
Greg Mauldin, Ruby Bridges Elementary
Amy Garcia, parent and volunteer, Franklin Elementary
Anne DeBardeleben, Fundraising Chair, Save Our Schools*
Sarah Olaes, Volunteer Chair; Save Our Schools, parent, Otis School*
Tere Hanson, parent and volunteer, Lincoln Middle School
Bram Briggance, parent and volunteer, Paden and Encinal Schools
Andy Currid, Data Management Chair, Save Our Schools; parent and volunteer, Edison School*
Lissa Merit, parent and volunteer, Edison School
Mike Merit, parent and volunteer, Edison School
Christine Strena, parent and volunteer, Franklin School, Academy of Alameda
Julie Hong, deputy volunteer chair, Save Our Schools; parent and volunteer, Bay Farm School
Jen Laird O'Rafferty, Franklin School Captain, Measure A
Linda Mauldin, parent and volunteer, Ruby Bridges School
Page Barnes, Legal Counsel, Save Our Schools*
Susan Davis, parent and volunteer, Otis and Lincoln
Nancy Landreth, parent and volunteer, Lincoln and Alameda High
Amy Loughran, parent and volunteer, Edison School
Tracy Jensen, parent and volunteer, Edison School; former Board of Education member
Noel Wise, parent and volunteer, Franklin School
Michelle Colgan, parent and volunteer, Bay Farm School
Laria Pippen, parent and volunteer, Edison School; Edison School Captain, Save Our Schools*
*Affiliations are for identification purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement by any organization.
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