First of all, let me thank you for the extraordinary and unprecedented level of support that I have received. When I started this campaign, I thought I would be lucky to obtain some votes at East. What I hadn’t expected was to forge so many new connections with a message that seems to resonate in many schools in our district.
It’s interesting what people will do when backed into a corner. I’m shocked, but not surprised, to hear about CHEA officials endorsing candidates. I’ve heard concerns about my experience. For the record, I have attended two leadership conventions with sessions focused on collective bargaining, and also served on two negotiations.
I believe we have a very good chance to make a change with this vote. I can’t thank those of you enough who have engaged with my campaign. It is incredible to converse with people from all walks of life, from our custodians, to our nurses, secretaries, and teachers.
From what I’ve heard:
- Elementary teachers and the amazing amount of times they have been moved grades, classrooms, and buildings, and the lack of support they receive from the union to help support their moves.
- The lack of stipends available to elementary teachers, and the fact that many of the stipends have been stagnant for all levels.
- Elementary teachers and the unsustainable level of work that goes into standards-based grading, on top of other reports, like IEP report cards.
- Nurses having no autonomy over decisions that directly impact their role. Poor coverage due to lack of staffing where nurses have to cover different schools.
- Middle school teachers in a lawless school, with students taking pictures of teachers and disseminating the information via airdrop. Attempts to change this have seen no progress.
- The lack of support in helping teachers navigate the 504 process for their own accommodations.
- Reports of board members showing up at buildings and using their influence to impact the day-to-day operations of our district.
- High School teachers feeling unsafe with “lunch and learn,” with the back door of the school being propped open so students can come and go.
- A 27 minute lunch at the high school level, where students are given the opportunity for a full hour lunch.
- The fact that the last settlement wasn’t pushed forward, and that members 2022 taxes will be impacted by the retro pay happening in January of this year instead of on your 2021 taxes.
There are even more, but this email would already be even longer than I’ve intended. Don’t worry if you don’t see your concerns above, I do have it noted.
Too often, problems are framed that they are “based on geography.” I have heard the phrase “Well that’s an East problem!” before. Yet, I hear the exact same problem mentioned at another school in the district. Why do we settle for division based on location?
To be frank, it is easier to frame the issue of it only “being a Carusi problem” in a way that causes infighting and removes our focus to where many of our shared problems exist. It’s time to illuminate the problem, whether that be the administrator at your school, or those at central making decisions that impact you without any thought to what it means TO YOU.
I have a few ideas for how we, as a union can do better, and I am sharing them now. I hope these are incorporated regardless of who the next CHEA president is.
- Office Hours: I’d like to have our CHEA executive level team available once a month at a local establishment to meet, get a pulse of what issues are impacting you, or just relax and get to know us as people.
- School Visits: When’s the last time you saw the CHEA president at your school? I can say at East, many have personally spoken to me about the lack of presence for years. I will be in your building, wherever you are, much more frequent than that.
- Featured CHEA members of the month: You hear so much about your amazing staff, but there is limited recognition and currently no way to showcase the talent in our schools.
Regardless of what happens tomorrow, I will retain a position in the union. As rep or as president, I promise to serve the way that I’ve outlined and communicated. One thing is for certain – in two years, you will see my name on the ballot again.
Thank you for everything. Let us go forward together.
Voting will take place on Friday, May 27th, sent via surveymonkey. Polling hours are 7:00am to 5:00pm.