California Educator

JUNE 2010

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Del Mar teachers find value in setting up PAC LEFT: Del Mar CTA members Genevieve Chapluk and Andrea Sleet. BELOW: Del Mar teachers Debbie Hanna and Jacqueline Boysen. meant that if we wanted to interview school board election candidates for a possible as- sociation endorsement, we could just have an all-member forum, inviting the candi- dates to address our entire membership,” says Sharpe. “But association membership growth resulting from increased student enrollment in the district has made such informal ar- rangements unwieldy and impractical. The PAC provides us the organization and struc- ture for efficiently interviewing candidates “Even though it was formed only a few months ago, our recently created political ac- tion committee is already giving our associa- tion a more positive and productive image — both among our members and in the Del Mar community,” says Del Mar California Teachers Association (DMCTA) President David Skinner. The political action committee (PAC) was initiated in J anuary by a co re group of DMCTA members at the urging of Skinner and DMCTA Vice President Danielle Roche after they participated in a CTA conference outlining the valuable contributions a PAC could add to a local chapter’s programs. “The workshop clearly showed me how a PAC might help us with some of the challeng- es I faced serving as the local association’s president,” says Skinner. “The workshop helped me understand that forming a PAC could help ensure a more formal process for political engage- ment,” says Roche. “Our hope was that a PAC might help us develop as a local chap- ter, taking us to a higher level of engage- ment that would encourage greater member participation and foster a passion for more involvement in political issues. And we’re already seeing that happen.” DMCTA members note that developing a 24 California Educator | JUNE 2010 PAC has multiple benefits for as- sociations. It can expand inter- nal organizing capacity in a way that supports other organizing activities, as well as bargaining; help recruit and elect board members who your association can work with toward joint goals and who support your associa- tion’s mission; and increase your reach into and involvement with the community and create opportunities for coalition relation- ships. “Del Mar has always been a community where parental support of the schools is evi- dent,” says DMCTA and PAC member Debo- rah Hanna, “but when times are good, it’s easy to get complacent. As we all know, times are not so good now for California’s state budget, and it’s inevitable that the resulting issues are affecting Del Mar. We decided that it would be better to do something proactive — like form- ing a PAC — to help us be in a better position for positive action, rather than just passively waiting to see what happens.” Former DMCTA president and PAC mem- ber Carol Sharpe explained another impetus for initiating a PAC. “Until fairly recently, the relatively small number of members in o ur association and learning about important local and state political and legislative issues. Then we can provide our members and the public with valuable information to consider when they make their voting choices.” With guidance and assistance from CTA Governmental Relations staff, the 11 mem- bers of the Del Mar PAC have set both short- term and long-range goals with timelines and due dates for completion. “We have a solid core of members cur- rently involved in the PAC,” says Hanna, “and now we believe it’s time to reach out to other Del Mar members, encouraging them to get involved.” BILL GUY For information or assistance on setting up a local PAC for your association, contact your primary contact staff person and/or your regional political organizer. CTA photos by Bill Guy

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