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It's hard to back teachers on this one

February 18, 2011

I love teachers. I don't say that just because my daughter has some of the best in the district, but because I really believe teachers are generally wonderful, amazing people. In fact, when I hear the word “teacher,” my first thought is, “good person.”

That's why I'm having great difficulty understanding why the Glendale Teachers Assn. is not supporting Measure S (“Teachers union will not support bond,” Jan. 27).

A recent letter from a Toll Middle School teacher states, “Glendale teachers don't feel the bond money is what our schools need at this time” (“Bond can’t be used for the right reasons,” Feb. 10).


That’s odd, considering the state has slashed Glendale Unified’s budget year after year and the district has been struggling to keep things afloat. Last summer, 83 teachers were slated to be cut when the teachers union wouldn’t make concessions needed to help cover them. Fortunately, President Obama issued one-time emergency funds, and we were able to hire most of them back.

Now, the Glendale Teachers Assn. is saying “no” to a bond that could save teachers' jobs because they can't get a “guarantee” that their jobs will be protected, even if we have more cuts.

What the union doesn’t say is that parents already pressed the district for a parcel tax to protect class sizes, and Glendale Unified officials paid to survey residents in hopes it was possible. Unfortunately, the numbers fell far short of the supermajority needed to pass a parcel tax. However, the survey did show the majority of residents are open to a bond measure.

Glendale Unified doesn’t want a repeat of demonstrations and standing-room-only board meetings when the public decried the cuts last year. Should Measure S pass, general-use funds currently budgeted for infrastructure improvements and maintenance could be used to help maintain current class sizes. The district has provided a viable solution, as we asked them to.

What has the Glendale Teachers Assn. offered? They claim they don't want to burden us, but they’re holding their support hostage because the district is unable to guarantee that teacher jobs will be protected, no matter what.

If we Glendale residents want to spend our money improving the schools our children attend, and help teachers and property values in the process, these tactics are not doing us any favors.

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