Letters to the Editor | Multiple Letters, Same Topic: United Teachers of Pasadena

Published : Thursday, February 15, 2018 | 3:10 PM

Over the past 48 hours, Pasadena Now has received a number Letters to the Editor focused on the United Teachers of Pasadena. Below is a representative sampling. [Please note that the David Cross mentioned in some of the letters is Pasadena Now's Newsdesk Editor.]

February 13, 2018

Dear Editor:

I am an involved parent of two children in PUSD, in grades 5th and 7th.

I hope the teachers union supports this incentive plan in order to help teachers who, like my mom (a high school teacher in LAUSD), are ready to retire but are concerned about the loss of their salaries. This incentive would make the decision much easier and allow them to finally take that much needed break.

The plan, the way I understand it, would help us save money, reduce the number of layoffs, and retain some amazing earlier career teachers.

It’s a win-win, like my kids like to say, and I hope UTP will do right by teachers and PUSD families and accept this proposed plan.

Laura Allen

February 14, 208

Dear Mr. Cross -

I am the parent of two children in 7th and 9th grades at Blair Middle and High School. I am disappointed and increasingly frustrated that UTP has not yet agreed to allow PUSD to offer a retirement incentive to the district’s teachers. Doing so would allow interested teachers to voluntarily accept a generous retirement plan, which will in turn spare those teachers with fewer years of service from being laid off. Importantly, encouraging retirement at a time of budget crisis lessens the disruption at schools sites that comes from the “bumping” process.

Healthy organizations have a mix of employees at various stages in their careers. The last-hired, first-fired system in place due to UTP’s insistence eliminates this balance during times of cutbacks. Furthermore, laying off staff based solely on years of service protects low-performing teachers who in the private sector would be the first to go.

It’s time for UTP to act as a partner with the district to ensure the financial viability of PUSD. For UTP’s leadership to hold out and demand raises now shows just how out of touch the UTP leadership is from reality. I hope the rank and file UTP members speak up and let their leadership know they want to have the opportunity to review and vote on the early retirement plan. Let the members decide if they want it.

Thank you,

Jennifer H.

February 14, 2018

Dear Mr. Cross,

I am a parent of a 6th-grade and 8th-grade student at Washington STEAM Magnet Academy (WSMA, a PUSD middle school). Our school is on a wonderful trajectory upward right now. The team of teachers and administrative staff is amazing. They work so well together and are improving the not only academic success of our students by the overall school climate as well.

I cannot imagine losing any of the staff at WSMA, from the teachers to the custodians. I know that several of our staff are new to their positions, including some phenomenal math and ESL teachers and our school counselor. Our school is a stand-alone middle school – the students are there for only 3 years. There is no room for error in creating class schedules. There is no room for long-term substitutes who fill the positions of bumped teachers who decide 3 months in that they can’t handle our student demographic.

I encourage the UTP to support the PARS Early Retirement/Resignation Incentive Plan. By doing so they are doing what is in the best interest of their teachers and what is definitely in the best interest of our students, our future!

Thank you for your time!
Best regards,
Angie U.

February 14, 2018

To David Cross or whom it may concern:

I am a mom of a kindergartner and 3rd grader in a Pasadena Unified School District elementary school. I’m concerned that UTP has not accepted the Board-approved teachers’ early retirement incentive plan.

PUSD is facing unprecedented budget issues. Early retirement incentive plans as a cost savings / cost reducing measure are very common, and I remember in high school, my own school district, when faced with budget issues, did this to allow tenured teachers a chance to retire early while avoiding a massive amount of teacher layoffs. Without this agreement, PUSD may have to lay off a large number of teachers with the least seniority with the District while more tenured teachers lose the ability to retire a couple years early. I hope the teachers’ union can find a way to save the jobs of its newer members while allowing their more established members an opportunity to retire early.

Tina P

February 13, 2018

Dear Editor:

It feels like the union is not serving the best interests of all teachers. I certainly feel left out. The way I understand it, instead of saving jobs, the union wants to use the retirement incentive for something else. Ultimately, if teachers lose their jobs, the kids suffer. I love my job, I love my students, and I hope the union can be patient with raises so teachers (like me) can keep teaching. At the very least they can communicate better exactly how they are fighting for *all teachers.”

Anonymous PUSD Teacher

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