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Many of us will contribute even if it's not via a union concession

Original post made by teacher, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2009

I watched the school board meeting tonight and was so heartened to see that community members are mobilizing a "campaign" encouraging people to make private donations to support CSR (and hopefully other programs?).

I think that what has gone on within the union is similar to what has gone on in the community at large: there is a large group of people who want to contribute, but they don't make up a large enough percentage to win the vote overall. If this is the case, maybe teachers can be encouraged to contribute privately just as community members are doing? Many of us would do it gladly.

Comments (12)

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Posted by Just another teacher
a resident of Sycamore Heights
on Jun 3, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Teachers contribute all the time (to the tune of about 4K in my classroom this year!) AND we will contribute to a community campaign if we can afford to do so. Some of us can not and I feel that the union needs to protect our individual rights to chose whether or not we will contribute just as the taxpayers felt the need to protect their rights.

I will tell you one thing, a community "rescue package" would do a lot right now for morale. Sometimes (4k!!) it seems like we are the only ones giving.

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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 3, 2009 at 10:35 pm

I don't know how individual teachers can have an impact within the union. I do wish there was more reporting about what the union members have been asked to vote on....

I could only watch/listen to about 20 minutes worth of the meeting. It sounds like the focus on fundraising is as a one-year stopgap to minimize the increase in class sizes? I was very concerned that the superintendent seemed to indicate that fundraising did not need to be complete until mid-August. That means trying to hire back an unspecified number of teachers just before school begins.

It also doesn't take into account the impact on the teaching team of all the other cuts that were made in February. Counselors, intervention specialists, librarian hours... fundraising cannot bring those things back at this point. Teachers who remain employed will have to "contribute" by taking on extra work in those areas, or coping with the cuts (taking kids to the library less often, dealing with a wider range of learning abilities in the regular classroom, etc.)

There's also the issue of what will happen at the state level if the legislature approves the governor's proposal to reduce the number of school days. That would mean an effective pay cut for the teachers who will still be employed next year.

Did the board take any action at the end of the meeting, or will notices of layoff be going out tomorrow?

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Posted by Shocked
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 11:02 pm

Dear Just another teacher, I'm shocked that you have contributed such a large sum of money for things in your classroom. In fact, I'm scratching my head trying to figure out what one would spend $4,000 on. Since you brought it up, please share, specifically what you spent money on.

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Posted by Just another teacher
a resident of Sycamore Heights
on Jun 3, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Without disclosing too much (I hope you can all understand why we prefer to remain anonymous) once I run out of district funds I buy all the stuff I need. It can be post it notes, pens, pencils, crayons, science supplies, cards for kids birthdays, decorations for the classroom you name it, I seem to need it. Yes, you say we can live without it but I want to maintain a certain learning environment. I am not complaining that I spend so much, I am just saying that I do and that much of what you see at the schools is paid for by contributions from families, first and foremost my own!

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Posted by Teacher too
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 3, 2009 at 11:35 pm

Just another teacher, sorry, I think something else is going on here. It sounds to me like you have a spending "challenge", like our state and federal government. Post its, birthday cards, etc? If I teach these kids at the next grade level and they have come to expect (feel entitled) the goodies you shower on them, how is that going to make the kids feel towards me - am I the scrooge?

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Posted by Practical Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:54 am

Just another teacher---
I hear this often about how much teachers spend of their own money for supplies and I find your amount to be rather staggering. My daughter's teacher asked for $50 towards classroom expenses at the beginning of the year and I understand our PTA gives another $40 per child so that could be as much as $1800 for a classroom of 20.
Do you ask your parents for classroom donations?
Does your PTA support the classrooms directly?
If so how much support do you usually receive from those sources?
If you are spending that much out of pocket for such supplies, I too would encourage you to try to reign it in. Our kids should not need that much in consumables.

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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 4, 2009 at 6:00 am

There's also a significant difference between an elementary classroom staffed by a new teacher and one who has been able to equip a classroom over 15 years. New teachers may want to purchase paperbacks graded for specific reading levels so kids can choose within the classroom something for book club reading (multiple copies required, not available from the library)... or math or social science or science games, that provide a more active way of reinforcing key concepts than a textbook and worksheets...

This is an example of why some teachers may spend more money than others. It also explains why teachers pay for some things out of pocket. They know the materials will benefit more than the kids in their current class, so they don't expect to pay for them out of their current parents' donations.

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Posted by mary
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:01 am

Well, I'm shocked too. To hear that "Just Another Teacher" says she is spending this amount is nearly rediculous. How can one spend that much on 'little' items when parents are providing so much up front. Every year we parents put together a box of those same goodies and include other items like kleenex, wet-wipes, paperbacks, calculators, and on and on. That's on top of a monetary amount that we all chip in for the teacher to use as she/he needs.

Don't mean to be harsh, but it sounds like utter nonsense. That, or our teachers need to be the first to begin to teach how to better budget.

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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Looks like Just Another Teacher's comment totally derailed the conversation from the original post.

Thank you, original teacher. I hope the entire community can come together on this one and find common ground.

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Posted by haha
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 1:15 pm

And you wonder why we have a budget crisis? It's a problem from top to bottom.

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Posted by mac
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Here's where I'd put my money...let's bring the Scripps Spelling Bee to this town, and we can begin with this one:

R E S T R A I N T !

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 6:56 pm

How can that teacher spend so much? I wrote checks to the classroom, PTA. Every parent I know did the same. Does this teacher ask her parents for donations?

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