[LCSD] Birdies in the Spring

The stork dropped this interesting document down my chimney this morning.

UPDATE:  It’s definitely May, and there are definitely lots of little birdies floating around.  Check this out:

The Executive Council made a recommendation to NOT give up the days [referring to adding on two days at the end of the year to make up for snow days or not]. Total surveyed: 161 of 225 members.
Support Recc:     128
Not Support:       29
Abstain                 4
Making a claim that certain people were not allowed to vote, or didn’t have ballots dropped off in their mailboxes, is a big claim.  If there is any truth to it, I suspect it’s that members got to vote and fair-share payers did not.  In any case, the outcome here is clear – it’s about 4 to 1 against.  END UPDATE.

If you look at the document, it asks a decent question:  What about a 4-day school week?  Personally, I’ve not thought about it at all, and thus am ambivalent at this point.  But my understanding is that Lanning dismissed it at the budget meeting last Thursday, while many other districts are considering it, and that whoever sent me this (I don’t actually know, for the record, where this originated) thinks that it’s a conversation worth having.  I can’t say I see anything wrong with that argument.

The subtext of this, I suppose, is that the LCSD could be more creative in addressing the budget shortfall than they are currently being – or so I am told.  I am not attending the budget meetings, so I don’t know the full extent of what’s going on.  But as a general rule, I am a big fan of openness and transparency in budget situations, and considering all options, especially given how things are going.

Anyone out there want to weigh in?

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21 Comments on “[LCSD] Birdies in the Spring”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Can’t read what it says Dennis, its too small.

  2. Dennis Says:

    Whoa. Yeah. Sorry – this is one piece of WordPress I don’t like; Blogger is better at dealing with the image.

  3. Susan Says:

    If you click on the document, it will enlarge.

  4. Dennis Says:

    I changed it – no preview, but it should be nice and large now. Give it a read.

  5. LHS staffer Says:

    What are the actual $$ saved? I think the positives out weigh the negatives. Just need the numbers.
    Of course, don’t ask the unions for their votes because not everyone will be asked to vote (referring to my statement from earlier in LE)

  6. LHS staffer Says:

    oops, comment was made in AD not LE, may bad. Same truth.

  7. Annaproudgradof1985 Says:

    Thank you for posting this. Very interesting. I would like to know why Lebanon did not look more into the 4 day school week too. With the daycare on the fifth day the school district could work something out with the boys and girls club. Just like the boys and girls club do in the summer.

  8. Russ Says:

    Part of the reason Mr. Lanning wasn’t to keen on the 4 day week was because of the way it impacts the community. It doesn’t mean the budget committee can’t still talk about it. I investigated a bit about South Umpqua that you mentioned, and found this:

    “Board Chair Jeff Johnson said the 4-day week option is not on the table, because it was found any savings from the option — mostly from dropping classified staff hours, resulting in those employees being dropped from the health insurance — were negated by unemployment costs from the number of layoffs proposed”

    This was from a report from their first budget meeting. So while I think it is good to talk about lots of options, the 4 day school week may not work. We would need to see the numbers.

  9. Susan Says:

    LHS Staffer – can you explain that statement not everyone will be asked to vote?

    I belonged to a union and anyone who wanted to vote could. You were told prior to meetings what you were voting on, and then…uh…voted on it if you wanted to be at the meeting.

    Is your union really that messed up, that teachers don’t know what they are voting on, or what they are voting on can simply slip by a multiple teachers?

  10. Dennis Says:

    Russ, I suspect that’s the motivation here – not to declare that the LCSD should simply go to a 4-day week, but to explore the option and see if it would actually be financially feasible.

  11. LHS staffer Says:

    Susan-
    I should have said not everyone was given a ballot because not everyone was notified that a vote was happening. Ballots were put in some mail boxes, not others.

    The bigger question is what are the real numbers? How many of the members who could have voted did vote? What about the others? If, let’s say there are 200 members and 50 voted and only 10 of those agreed-is that “the union” wants something one way or the other. Especially if not all members had the opportunity to vote? I would rather have it reported that of the 25% of the members who voted only 10% are in agreement with whatever the issue is. Just honest reflection of the facts. Just a thought..

  12. LT Says:

    Susan,

    We have been told that the union does not provide advance notice to members before a vote. Although the union has an arrangement with the district to use the district email system to communicate with members, it does not send out notices that there is going to be a vote. Nor does the union send out emails notifying membership that there is an opportunity to run for an office. While one may argue that the district could be spying on the email, there are other times when information is conveyed through email and there would be no confidential information in the notifications.

    As LHS Staffer suggests, it would be nice if the school board asked more questions of Fandino when she is taking a position. For example, was there a survey done? What percentage of the membership favors her position? What percentage voted?

    And, in many cases, the “executive council” endorses a position. This is a small, select group, which has more radical views than the rank and file membership.

    For example, most of the membership does not even know that the union brought a grievance based on a single teacher’s grading practices. Both building and district administrators determined that this teacher’s grading of a group project by three students was wrong and therefore changed those student’s final grades to eliminate that project from the grade calculation. Not only did the teacher file a grievance, but the union did as well. And now the case is headed to arbitration. Why? The evidence collected by the district is quite damning of the teacher and the only way to make things right for the students is to correct their grades.

    For the principal of the matter?

    In this case, the principal of the matter is rather expensive and it turns into having less money to pay employees and fewer adults servicing our students next year.

  13. Annaproudgradof1985 Says:

    Now, wait a minute??? You pay dues to be in the union, right??? If so they should be getting ahold of all union members to vote on all matters that involve the members! If they are not doing that they should be turned into the main union office!
    I have been a long time union member for food processing and we did not vote on anything until all members were notified and a meeting was set up.

  14. Dennis Says:

    See the update to the post for more info on the LEA vote. I doubt there were any shenanigans.

  15. Amy Says:

    Voting in the LEA is usually a haphazard process. Ballots are dropped off in boxes and then returned to a building rep who checks off your name on a master list. Usually an e-mail is sent out informing the staff of the vote. If you are gone and miss the e-mail you could note know about the vote. Your ballot should still be in your mailbox however. The recent elections were invalid in my opinion since no one campaigned widely or stated their goals to the voters. It was mostly a vote of fear. Also Craig Nelson’s name was left off the ballot. A major error in my opinion. But he has decided not to demand a re-vote so I feel the point is moot.

  16. Susan Says:

    Dennis – Your update pretty much answered my question.

    Teachers are the union. Even if 64 teachers did not get the memo on the voting – and if all of those teachers voted “non-support”, the out come would have been the same.

  17. ? Says:

    I would like to see the $’s Lebanon might be able to save on this, South Umpqua school district is approximately 1/3 the size of Lebanon’s district. I liked Anna’s suggestion on the B&G club, especially if this would eliminate the teacher work days, staff development days, and early releases, since it am guessing the 5th day of the week would be used for this. It would also be nice to see all the schools on one schedule, for the folks who have students at various grade levels. Could this also cut down on the teacher layoffs, so our class sizes won’t increase?

  18. Susan Says:

    LT – unless there was disciplinary action taken against the teacher, I cannot imagine what ground the teacher or the union would stand on to file a grievance.

    I guess I do not know the “ins and outs” of how a teacher’s union works. I assume a student’s parent complained? A decision was made in a higher position than the teacher? The teacher and the union did not like the decision, or the both of them did not like an action against the teacher?

    There is a difference between correcting a situation, or reprimanding (verbal, written, or otherwise) a teacher, right?

    Your first paragraph is something teachers have to fix within their union. Not much can be done unless teachers are the ones who want to do it.

  19. Amy Says:

    I know of the grievance and the teacher is being squeezed for following a policy that was known to the administration prior to the incident. Ultimately, the administration decided not to back the teacher even though they approved the grading policy. Then changed the grade. Grading is one area that is very sacrosanct with teachers. The freedom to set a grading policy is an area that most unions will fight for to the end. I agree with the grievance. The teacher turned in their syllabus and no questions were raised by the administration. The policy, in my opinion, does not violate any district rules. I believe that the administration is just trying to appease a disgruntled set of parents instead of standing by its staff.

  20. LT Says:

    Wow, Amy, the facts you heard are quite different from the facts that we heard.

    We heard that the teacher never turned in the course syllabus to administration and in fact that the teacher argued in the case that she was not required — as opposed to simply being asked — to turn in a syllabus to administration, and therefore she did not err in not turning it in.

    The teacher’s policy was that she would accept no late work, but in fact, she routinely accepts late work from some students (students seem to believe that it is done on the basis of her personal feelings about the students in question.)

    The students showed up with a powerpoint file — the assignment was to create a powerpoint file — and found out that the file was corrupt. The teacher did not attempt to get any tech support to try to solve the problem.

    The teacher told the students and parents that they had until the end of the day (the day it was due) to reconstruct the file, but then got mad and refused to accept the recreated assignment.

    A forensic investigation corroborated the students’ story.

    The problems with the teacher’s position:

    1. She did not get her syllabus turned in to administration,

    2. There was evidence to indicate that the policy was applied in an arbitrary manner,

    3. She retracted the end of the day deadline in a less than professional manner.

    While teachers should be given discretion in grading matters, this one seems to be the over the top, extraordinary circumstances that justify administrative intervention.

  21. Susan Says:

    Either account, Amy or LT’s, a grievance on the matter seems wasteful and immature on the part of the teacher and the union.


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