Truth in Mailing
I received in the mail today a particularly misleading mailer about the upcoming Glendale School Board election. It was not sent by a particular candidate but by the Glendale Teachers Association. It accuses current board member Mary Boger of almost single-handedly denying teachers a hot lunch. They are referring to a district directive that required school employees to get by with fewer personal appliances by consolidating them into central areas. The areas were to be determined by the teachers and principals.
Put aside for a minute the image of Mrs. Boger snatching food from the mouths of suffering civil servants and consider the facts. First of all, this action was taken based upon the recommendation of a committee made up of teachers, administrators, parents and members of the community. It was felt that this was a good way to cut energy costs at a time when our schools are suffering severe loss of revenue due to the general economic decline. While the approximately $60,000 savings may seem small in the overall budget, it does represent a year’s salary for one teacher or two classified workers.
Our teachers are professionals and I know they will continue to serve their students with the utmost skill and dedication during these difficult times.
Good Citizens of Glendale/La Crescenta: As a life-long Glendale resident, a 24 year teacher at Wilson Middle School, and two-time selection as Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year, I am writing to bring to your attention recent campaign mailers that were sent by the Glendale Teachers Association leadership group. In these recent mailers, Mrs. Mary Boger, member of the Glendale Board of Education, is under attack. As a forced member of this particular teachers union, I find it necessary to speak out against its leadership.
My union has chosen to use its membership’s dues to attack a sitting board member. To anyone who has children in Glendale schools, or has any association with the Glendale schools, they know that Mary Boger has a long and respected record of true leadership for the citizens, parents and students of Glendale. Mary’s decisions on anything in the GUSD are based on one simple fact: Will this decision be good for students or will it not? Mary has demonstrated that with each vote in her nine years on the school board.
In Mary’s nine years on the board, student achievement is up – way up. Twenty-two schools have earned California Distinguished School recognition. Five schools have earned National Blue Ribbon Recognition. Classified staff and certificated staff salaries and benefits have all increased, not decreased. Student achievement scores have gone from 734 in 2002 when Mrs. Boger became a member of the board to 842 this past school year.
Something the GTA leadership group will not report to the citizens of Glendale is the fact that this year the union president, Ms. Tami Carlson, is no longer a classroom teacher. She only now works on “union” business. I was raised in Glendale by a mom and dad that were teachers in Glendale, and I cannot for the life of me understand why a credentialed teacher would need to tend to “union” business full time to the exclusion of her teaching duties. GUSD is not paying her salary, but the rank and file of the GTA is paying her salary. No rank and file member of the GTA was ever given the chance to vote on whether they wanted their union dues to be spent in such a fashion. In fact, GTA leadership group raised union dues to cover this cost. Again, no rank and file vote on whether the members really wanted this.
It gets even better. GTA Vice President Jana Wells is now only a part-time classroom teacher. She has half a day off each and every day to work on “union” business. Again, the leadership voted to raise the dues to cover these costs without first consulting its constituency. The total of these two adults being out of the classroom is costing the union approximately $100,000 (including base salary and benefits). Never once were teachers allowed to vote on this.
It is ironic that GTA leadership is currently fighting Measure S on the grounds that “they don’t want a tax burden on the citizens,” but they have no problem raising the forced taxes (dues) upon the union members when the action is “self-serving.”
Teachers unions are all about adults and power. In Glendale, this union is about raising forced dues on its members so that the small few can spend their days out of the classroom.
I denounce this malicious attack on a good person. I would hope all the other candidates for school board would do the same, especially the two candidates that are endorsed by this small group of “so called” leaders.
Mary Boger does not deserve the vicious attack being mounted by the leadership of the GTA. She has served with distinction and a clear record of dedication to the children in our district.
Mr. Kris Kohlmeier