[LCSD] A contested LEA election?

In the comments left on this post, I am told that LHS teacher Kim Fandino has decided to run for the LEA Presidency again:

This year, the nomination committee for the union selected Sabrina to run for a full term as president, or perhaps it was really that the nomination committee convinced Sabrina to run. In the last few days, Kim Fandino decided that Sabrina was not “experienced enough” to serve as the union president and Fandino decided to run against Sabrina. So there is a contested election for the presidency of the teachers union.

While I want to know more, I hold Sabrina Wood in pretty high regard, so I am a bit skeptical of KF’s decision to run again.  Further, KF has already held more than one full term of the last two.  Now, if I remember right, tradition holds that the LEA Presidency rotates between a K-8 teacher and a high school teacher.  KF was elected the term before this current one, and breaking tradition – not the rules – she ran again for a second term.  She resigned, as is noted in part of the comment I didn’t excerpt, last summer, KF having convinced Sabrina Wood to not only become VP but to take over as President.  Now KF is running again – and while, admittedly, the tradition would dictate that someone from LHS become President, KF already broke the cycle.

And besides, I LIKE the idea of having Sabrina Wood as LEA President.  What I don’t like is KF turning on the person she recruited and claiming she’s not “experienced enough” – LT’s word – to be in the position that KF herself put Wood in.  C’mon – that’s not cool.

Moreover, an uncharitable read on the situation is that KF gave up her position when she was having family problems – which makes sense – but wants the position back now that the rest of her life has calmed down.  That’s not democratic; that’s aristocratic.  This comment provides some evidence of that point:

Why did Kim Fandino resign in the first place, when she has not truly stepped out and let the new leadership make their own way?
Why has she signed the Enclosure D-2 for the next Board meeting as “LEA President” when she is not and Sabrina Wood is?
Why has she made repeated runs straight for the School Board–and is now seeking to have the Board be a permanent part of the LEA negotiations–regularly bypassing the Superintendent and the process in place?.
Why is she putting this before the Board just before we get a NEW Superintendent?
Why is Kim Fandino acting like she is the voice of the LEA?

I almost didn’t believe this – and then I checked:

lea-president-kf

Holy crap, she really did sign it as President – and it’s dated February 2009.  I suppose it’s possible that this is left over from an older template or letterhead, or that she was tired when she wrote this.  But in either case – in all cases – that’s REALLY not cool.  I know that the **** would hit the fan where I work if someone did this.  (I also want to know if KF has the blessing of the rest of the bargaining team or the union leadership to make this request, or if she’s acting on her own.  For that matter, are the LEA President and Bargaining Chair always different people?)

In the larger context, the other point I want to make is that one of the few remaining constants about the ongoing struggles within the LCSD is the presence of KF (Alexander’s presence is another, but that’s a whole post unto itself).  For anyone who put forth the “everyone needs to change” line, this would logically be part of that – and remember, as far as I know, Wood has a reputation of building relationships, not being antagonistic.

None of this is to say that contested elections are bad; on the contrary, I wish there were more of them, in general (setting aside my preference for consensus over elections for a second). Neither is any of this designed to say that the LEA President should not have a spine of steel when necessary and when it comes to dealing with the district in tough economic times.  KF certainly is willing to play hardball; the problem I have is that she doesn’t seem to know how to do anything else.  Wood I know can build bridges, and I suspect that she’s plenty tough for the job.

But the bottom line, from where I am sitting (and with admittedly not that much information), KF is not behaving very well.

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7 Comments on “[LCSD] A contested LEA election?”

  1. Amy Says:

    Fof some reason Kim seems to feel that she needs to be the center of attention and power. She does not seem to understand that the world does not revolve around her or that other people can have good ideas. I hope that the teachers do not vote for her as union president. I feel that the district is slowly removing the lightening rods that are the focus of animosity. I do not agree with how these things are happening, the buy-out of Mr. Robinson cost the district money we could sorely need at this time. But if the cooperation improves I can accept the cost. Now if we vote out Mr. Alexander and the teachers rebuff Mrs. Fandino the power bases will have diminished. With what Mr. Yates is currently doing I think the teachers should give him a chance. Ultimately our school system will not work without letting go of the past. Let’s come together as a community in this time of economic crisis and put our kids ahead of these petty problems of the past.

    A question for you Dennis, I do not have connections in the district but have been told that our district has one of the highest carry-over funds in the area. Is that true? If it is why is the school board taping into some of those funds to lessen the impact of cuts?

  2. Dennis Says:

    I don’t know anything about the carryover funds or how they compare to other districts. That’s a question better addressed to Linda Darling… or the Lebanon Express.

  3. Dennis Says:

    Also, Amy makes an interesting point: The goal isn’t to shift the power bases, but to eliminate them. I take it that implicit in that is that the goal is to spread power out a bit more through the district rather than keep it concentrated.

    I’m not actually sure Amy was trying to make that point, but I think it’s a good one.

  4. Amy Says:

    I do think that the High School is too much of a focus in this district. There are many good and bad things going on in our district but they are ignored. True, the high school has many problems, but if we look at the district as a whole, maybe some of those problems can be reduced or eliminated. For example, the math problem might be better addressed as a problem of the district not just the high school. Could it be that the goals set by the state are just too low to meet the high school needs? If we tried to change the whole district’s approach to math, maybe it would solve the problem at the high school. The same is true of many other problems. If we work as a team, teachers, administration, and community members we could go a long way.

  5. LHS staffer Says:

    Nicely said Amy. The district as a whole is working very hard to address all of the students and all of their needs. The high school has taken up way to much of the resources and energy. As an employee who has worked at all levels of this district and in many others-this high school has been toxic for a very long time. KF and a few others have been the problem for many years. Mark Finch and his team were making slow progress toward building relationships-things were getting better. Now Mr. Yates is trying to make some changes-unfortunately he is getting rid of some things that were very good. With all the upcoming budget cuts and other problems the atmosphere is not good. To know that the new, young, positive teachers are more than likely going to be gone next year-is not helpful.
    In education we can’t seem to find a way to keep the parts that work and improve those that are not.

  6. Russ Says:

    The district has been working at the math problem from all levels. The state requirements for math at the elementary level has been to low, and they have been raised. Mr. Robinson always pointed out and the Oregonian a couple months ago had discussions on how well Lebanon elementary schools were improving the math skills of our younger students. They are doing better with basic math skills and with upper level math at a younger age. Some of the elementary and middle school test scores for Lebanon were extremely high compared to the average state scores. The problem,however, included what to do at the high school where a vast group of kids struggled with basic math skills not just algebra. The district is confident that our “up and coming” high schoolers will do better, but we couldn’t ignore our kids in high school who were failing in math.

    There are many great things going on in our district, and they are fun to recognize. I’d like to hear more of the choir group from LHS who performed in New York City last week. Very cool. I have loved seeing the articles in the paper about our ag programs, our technology competitions, the garden at Seven Oaks, etc. We have a cool district. We have things to improve, like all other districts, but it is exciting to see the things our teachers and our classifieds and our kids are doing well.

  7. Amy Says:

    I know Mr. Robinson started a district math committee to coordinate the math instruction throughout the district. Unfortunately, the progress has not been good. For example, the committee decided upon an exit exam and content scope for Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 in the high school. But the district has not provided the committee time to analyze the tests. In fact, the committee has not scored them in over a year. Some of the problem is budget, some is unwillingness by Principals to distribute the information, some is teachers not wanted to comply. Until these problems are addressed reforms intended to improve the quality of math instruction at the high school will not succeed. Further, next year is a math adoption year and with the current budget issues will there even be an adoption.
    I know members of the district committee are rightfully touting success from the ideas formulated from the committee in the elementary levels. But it is falling apart as we get to the high school. And now with the prospect of cutting 11 or more teachers at the high school, are we going to be able to afford 8 math teachers? If not, how are we going to address all the needs of students? I return to my question, does our district have one of the highest carry-over funds? I know the TOSAs are funded by grants and not regular district funds. Can these TOSAs be re-tasked to take up the slack in the remedial programs at the high school? I do not know the specific requirements of the grant funds, but if possible they should be used as support teachers in remedial classes, or alternative educational settings for those who do not want to learn in the regular education classes.


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