BHEA Statement at the
4.12.2017 Board of Education Meeting
Please feel free to share the following letter to any parent or community member you know:
- Congratulations to our Apple Award Winners and thank you to the district for taking several steps in the right direction
- Let's put an end to the debate regarding the salary formula. The formula is a good thing for all of us based on historical data and future projections.
- Hiring a Director of Communications while issuing layoff notices is not a good look.
- In 2012, the district's plan to reduce spending by $3.5 million included reductions to all areas including administrative salaries. We need to rescind the layoffs and work together to explore ALL options.
The following statement was given at the 4.12.2017 Board of Education meeting during the Agenda Hearing Period.
Dear Board of Education Members, District Administrators, and Members of the Community
Congratulations to my colleagues who were recognized as Apple Award winners tonight. All of you are amazing and deserving of this honor.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Telly Tse – high school teacher and President of the Beverly Hills Education Association.
I want to start by thanking Superintendent Michael Bregy. Since the last Board meeting, you met with BHEA representatives along with Dr. Tedford and Mrs. Latham and we had a great meeting that led to a better understanding between both sides. I want to especially thank Mrs. Latham for your presence at the bargaining table as it is always helpful and necessary. Thank you to Board President Mel Spitz for reaching out to us to meet. We are waiting to hear back regarding a date and time and I am hopeful that will be finalized soon.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the district’s effort in developing and administering a Supplemental Early Retirement Plan pending Board approval. This, in addition to the tabling of the elementary math textbook adoption is a movement in the right direction and we recognize it.
Another move in the right direction would be for all of us here to publicly put an end to the debate of whether the salary formula is good for the district. It is absolutely a great thing for all of us. Three of the five board members who worked with us on this and voted for it are still here today. In the last 33 years we have seen a 5 percent decrease in property tax revenue overall versus a 202% increase. We project an increase in the next four years. We can disagree about how we want to use the influx of property tax revenue the district receives every year. But to blame the formula for any financial problem is not a smart or balanced way to look at it.
Secondly, regarding the Director of Communications position – we are not against the idea of the district being better at communicating with the public. I mean, maybe one of the things this person could do is to publicly state the salary formula is not the problem. The issue we have is quite simple. This is not the time. Not when we have layoffs. If I have a friend tell me he has money problems and can’t pay the mortgage and then he goes out and hires a butler, it’s just not the best look.
Lastly, the layoffs. The layoff notices have to be rescinded. You’ve hired amazing teachers, some in the last ten months, 22 of them within the last three years. They could have worked anywhere and they chose us. But it’s like they came on board and now they’re being “re-accommodated” and forcefully dragged out of the jobs they love. And let’s not blame seniority on this because seniority rules didn’t cause the district to hire 60 people in the last three years. We can do better than this. Certainly, in addition to the early retirement plan, all options must be explored. Take 2012 for example. In November 2012, shortly after Proposition 30 was passed, the district announced to the staff that they needed to present a reduction plan to the LA County of Education that equaled $3.5 million.
In this 2012 plan, which I have in front of me, the options to reduce the spending by $3.5 million included reductions to all units. Reductions to certificated staff were less than $1 million out of the $3.5 million. Included in the proposed cuts were reductions to administrators both in the number of positions and in their salaries. We are not proposing that you turn your attention to cutting programs, other units, and even administrative salaries. We are simply stating again there are many different options and it is important that we are all involved in the process of looking at all of the options.
We had a great Professional Development day yesterday and I want to thank Dr. Tedford for putting all of that together. I spent most of the day in a classroom with a few of our affected teachers and if they had just gone through the motions, it would have been understandable. But they worked hard, the collaborated, and they maintained a positive attitude and conducted themselves as if they expect to be back next year. These 23 educators deserve to keep their jobs. The real question is what have we done to deserve their excellence and professionalism? Rescinding these layoff notices now, not later, would be the way to start. After all, they could be our next Apple Award winners. Thank you.