Letters & Comments | Pasadena Unified School District, Teachers’ Union Dominate Our Inbox

Published : Sunday, February 25, 2018 | 6:05 AM

The Pasadena Unified School District’s budget woes and its negotiations with the United Teachers of Pasadena (broken off Friday) in regards to a Resignation/Retirement plan, generated the most comments this past week. Here is a representative sampling:

 

You should look at the Certificated salary schedule for PUSD and compare to all surrounding districts. Teachers are dramatically underpaid in Pasadena, especially those with less than 10 years experience. Most can’t afford a 1 bedroom apartment in Pasadena and are forced to commute long distances. They do it for the love of their profession and the kids in their classroom. If you think teachers in PUSD are overpaid and the cause of the problems, you’re badly misinformed. There is no shunning of teachers who work overtime or go beyond the minimum required in the union contract. Most teachers work substantial uncompensated overtime. Most teachers expend significant sums of their own money on teaching materials and textbooks. If anyone is overpaid it is the PUSD administrative management including the Supt. and Chief Business Officer. They have repeatedly given themselves raises, perks and have assigned parking spaces near the front door because they are too lazy to walk from their car to office like everyone else.

James, Pasadena


I was present at last night’s board meeting. It seems like there really is going to be a lot of unhappy families and staff throughout PUSD. As long as PUSD and the teacher’s union (UTP) continue to make decisions ‘they feel is best’, we will continue to have problems. Families in PUSD need to have a stronger voice, and be more inclusive in the negotiations process. I said it there, and I’ll say it again. We (the PUSD families) are the ones directly affected by all these decisions, shouldn’t we have a say too? I suggested that parents be part of the committees that make those important decisions, such as purchasing million dollar programs, like the reading/literacy program last year, or the leasing of Chromebooks for all students. That is a lot of money being spent because ‘they’ feel it would benefit all the students. In addition, I suggested families be part of the decision making process in the hiring, transferring and promotion of staff. I don’t think parents should have to just sit back and watch this happen and not be able to give input! We’re there at the schools and we know what’s going on. We know what staff works hard and goes above and beyond, and who is just sitting there waiting to retire. I suggested that we devise an evaluation system in which a committee produces a yearly evaluation in which staff is evaluated by students/parents, just like the universities. In college, students get to evaluate their instructor at the end of their course. Why couldn’t we do the same? Wouldn’t this help their problem with not having concrete data to discipline or promote staff within? These are all the things we, the families in PUSD should start questioning. Enough is enough, it’s time we are heard and action is taken!!!

Sylvia, Pasadena


The union wants to suck up any funds the school district tries to save- the ridiculous comment that the union is going to make sure funds aren’t mismanaged is laughable. They’re no better – they want money for themselves, and have no interest in what happens to the kids. (Check out the salaries of the union heads-that’ll irritate you in a quick second.) The district makes poor decisions with regards to spending money on reading “programs”, math “programs”, expensive computers they have no ability to upkeep, etc. instead of concentrating on quality staff, clean facilities, and basic learning materials. Until you can provide that to start with, don’t spend money on raises for anybody or any stuff you’re purchasing to cover up for not providing those basics. Extras are nice, but computers and dog-and-pony-show stuff is irrelevant if you have a lack of spine to stand up against union policies that cause us to lose great teachers year after year. The district makes terrible deals with the union that they know are unsustainable in the long term because they know the union will make it look like the district doesn’t care about teachers (which is absurd – but of course, the teachers and public have to be convinced of their victimhood or the union loses all their power in Sacramento, and their control over their members.) The excellent teachers, of which we have many, do their best with no teacher’s aids, and staff is mismanaged with some classes overloaded with kids and others seriously under-enrolled. The union does nothing but constantly tell us parents that “all teachers are good teachers,” as if we’re too stupid to know which staff members go above and beyond and which ones are just sucking up a paycheck waiting to retire. The district is reactionary to every problem and seemingly surprised by their own financial situation every year, as if they never saw it coming. Meanwhile, the union convinces teachers to do no more for the kids or schools than what is “in the contract” and makes sure teachers who dare go against them are practically shunned by other staff members or blamed for the parents’ dissatisfaction with the absurd seniority policies. It’s two sides of the same massively dysfunctional coin and the reason people look for any possible way out of the public school system. Enrollment is low? What a surprise.

Jennifer, Pasadena

 

 

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