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Teachers union on the wrong side

January 29, 2011

In deciding to not back a $270-million school bond on the April ballot, the Glendale Teachers Assn. showed once again that it is disconnected from the community it serves.

With Glendale Unified staring down the pike at $8.3 million in funding cuts if California voters fail to extend current tax rates in June — this on top of $29 million in reduced funding since the 2007-08 school year — the district's financial footing through spring will remain precarious.

That the teachers union would withhold its support for Measure S because the district won't commit roughly $19 million potentially freed up by the bond to rolling back unpaid work furlough days and other concessions agreed to last year is shortsighted and selfish.

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The potentially freed-up millions won't even be an option without Measure S passing, so to not support the bond is like shooting yourself in the foot because the doctor won't write you a prescription.

District officials and a coalition of community stakeholders, meanwhile, have been pushing Measure S as at least some form of financial certainty, essentially extending a 1997 school bond and generating an additional $270 million for badly needed capital improvements and classroom upgrades for years to come.

The Glendale Teachers Assn. would do well to recall the story of the Little Red Hen, who continuously asks other farmyard animals for help in cultivating a grain of wheat. At each work stage, she is rebuffed, until finally, she uses the harvest to bake a loaf of bread. Only then do the animals come knocking, but having not put in any of their own sweat equity, they're not invited to the dinner table.

If the teachers union isn't willing to work to support Measure S, they'll have little capital left if the bond passes and they try to secure a seat at the table.

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