California Educator

October 2012

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Page 14 of 47

San Ramon teachers: 'Hell NO' to blatant power grab By Mike Myslinski Photo by Rick Wathen "OUR VOICES WILL NE VER be silenced," vows Dar- ren Day, president of the 1,600-member San Ramon Valley Education Associa- tion in Contra Costa Coun- ty. "Educators are raising their voices in our com- munity, and we are being heard in many ways." Teachers are mobilizing in San Ramon Valley Uni- fied to pass Proposition 30 and defeat the devious Proposition 32. They also want to pass a $260 mil- lion school bond and elect two teacher-backed school board mem- bers, parent Mark Jewett and incumbent Greg Marvel. Members are spreading the word to all worksites, using the chapter website and e-newsletter, along with using social media and local media outreach. Their mobilizing efforts can be seen at "The school and community are starting to recognize how much damage Prop. 32 would cause to anyone who fights for stu- dents and the teaching profession," says Ann Katzburg, SRVEA vice president. Katzburg pitched the local "Patch" newspaper (these are online only and can be located in your city at to run a passionate campaign opinion col- SRVEA Representative Council volunteers illustrate the impact of Prop. 32. umn written by Monte Vista High School English teacher Kimberley Gilles, a 27-year classroom veteran and a past winner of a CTA Human Rights Award. "Proposition 30 asks Californians to pony up for education and government services," Gilles wrote, in part. "If we want to have adequately funded schools, we have to help make that happen. And not just because we are teachers — but because we are citizens. We have a state economy to sustain and children in our neighborhoods to nurture." Gilles blasted Prop. 32 in her column as "wildly manipulative" for trying to weaken union spending on politics at a time when corporations already outspend unions on lobbying 15 to 1. While the Special Exemp- tions Act gives more power to the wealthy to write their own rules, it masquerades as campaign reform because it would ban unions and corporations from using payroll-deducted funding on politics. "Sounds evenhanded, right? Wrong! Corporations don't use employee contri- butions to exercise political clout, they use their profits!" Gilles wrote. "Do we really want the only organiza- tions that truly represent our rights and interests, CTA and SRVEA, to be silenced? For me the answer is an outraged 'Hell no!' I will do all in my power to educate the electorate about this blatant power grab." "Proposition 32 is critical. I go to school sites and hold 10-minute meetings. I'm talking to everyone. Our members want to vote no on 32," she said. "Our teachers have seen what happens when the school board makes a financial decision that is going to impact the classroom, so we're actively recruiting education-friendly candi- dates to run for school board in 2014. But if Prop. 32 passes, we won't be able to do that." Lewis says the CTA-supported Proposition 30 funding initiative is a tougher sell in some of the more conservative anti-tax Central Valley school districts and towns. Until recently, Central Unified hasn't been hard hit by budget cuts, though Lewis is concerned about next year's budget – and the years after. Still, she notes, Prop. 30 has received the support of the school district. Lewis has learned a lot talking about these issues, but there's one lesson that she's particularly taken in: "Sometimes, you feel you don't make a difference, but you know what? We do. We do make a difference." October 2012 15

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