A Letter From the President:
May 15, 2013
Dear BGEA Membership:
Last Friday, the 10th of May, our election results came in and the membership has elected a new leadership team. Admittedly it was a bit of a blow to my “feeler side” but, after much reflection and introspection, it is time.
With all of the changes in District Office many of you felt that it would be a good idea to start with a clean slate in all areas of leadership. GOOD IDEA! I wanted to reflect with you, just a little about what has happened during the six years of my tenure in office. During my first year in office we did finally, after 7 years, get an occupancy permit at the office. It required the installation of a parking lot and landscaping. Our office building has been re-painted inside and out and is a great place to gather.
The most exciting thing that took place for me was that we had the first levy in the history of my 35 years in the district that asked for enough money. I was so excited until the state legislature took away exactly the amount of money we had gained and our levy ended up backfilling the loss from state funding. What a deflating experience that was. After much conversation our district finally decided to join the NEWS (Network for Excellence in Washington Schools). This year the state supreme court has ordered that the legislature must fully fund basic education by 2018. MORE IMPORTANTLY, we have a full levy that will be in place for four full years. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
In negotiations we have made progress with very few resources. We have gone from 9 TRI days to 12 and from 2 start-up days to 3. Bus duty is no longer a required duty in your job description. We have gone from no school counselors K-8 to .5 counselor at each middle school, and finally to one counselor per campus. Longevity compensation has been changed from $200 to additional Personal time. This next year, longevity will be based only on years of service, not on your position on the pay scale and years of service.
We have established a Labor Management Team that meets quarterly to discuss language and working conditions with the district office administration. We have been told that BGHS will have a staff room available next fall for teachers to have a place to gather and eat lunch together. Moving compensation has gone from one day of pay to two days of pay. Special Education Caseload language has ramped up to level B. Counselors 9-12 have improved caseload language.
We have opened six new schools: Day Break Primary and Middle, Tukes Valley Primary and Middle, Chief Middle School and Amboy Middle School. River Home Link and CAM and Maple Grove have undergone restructures. This activity alone has kept me busy.
I have worked with individual members and administrators to insure that the contractual process has been followed at every turn. A new extra -curricular contract has been negotiated and our Comprehensive Professional Agreement has been updated three times.
It has been a pleasure to work with a great executive board and negotiations team. I have gotten to know many colleagues that I wouldn’t have crossed paths with unless I had had the opportunity to serve as your president.
Do I have regrets? Of course I do. My biggest regret is that the fight for funding and community support continues to plague all of the public schools in our state and in our country. We have had some tremendous community outreach opportunities. During the last six years we have donated almost 30,000 pounds of food to the food bank. We have distributed approximately 300 coats over the past four years to students in need.
I regret that I haven’t been able to change the public perception of who teachers really are and how hard they work. All of the letters to the editor and articles haven’t solved the current national opinion that we are shadowed by.
I am proud to be affiliated with each and every one of you. I thank you for the trust you gave me in allowing me to serve you. I apologize to those of you who feel I fell short of the mark. I will continue to lobby for funding and for pro-education candidates. I will continue to write those letters to encourage people to look at the quality professionals in Battle Ground Public Schools.
Most importantly, I will have a chance to continue serving beside you in a classroom somewhere in our district. I will be honored to teach children the love of learning and the thirst for knowledge that must continue to drive them over a lifetime. Students will (must) be our focus. Standards and test scores cannot be the determining factor in our worth. Our students must be.
I will continue serving you as your president through the end of the school year. Please do not hesitate to call if there is anything I can help you with. Please join me is wishing the next executive board much success during their tenure in office.
Colleague and Friend