Education

Teachers union declares no confidence in school facilities process

2013-02-11T23:40:00Z 2013-04-11T13:27:05Z Teachers union declares no confidence in school facilities processBy The Daily News Longview Daily News
February 11, 2013 11:40 pm  • 

The Longview teachers union on Monday passed a resolution of no confidence in the process that led a citizens committee to recommend that the city’s two high schools be merged.

Longview Education Association President Jo Perkins read a resolution to the school board listing 13 complaints, including that teachers were not consulted during the process and were even told not to talk to students about it.

At Monday’s board meeting, members of the Longview School Buildings Advisory Committee formally presented their merger recommendation. The board is not expected to take action on it for months, perhaps not until late summer.

The 48-member committee is recommending that the district merge the two high schools into one at the Monticello/R.A. Long campus, combine the three middle schools into two and shut Northlake and Broadway elementary schools.

School Board president Jerry Stinger said the board will study the recommendation in depth before making a decision.

“This is not a race,” Stinger said. “We have time to look at this thoroughly.”

Building committee members Bob Guide and Jody Kirkpatrick presented the three-page recommendation.

“We’ve been waiting for you guys to come,“ Stinger said. “Now we pop the top off this thing and as a community we can begin to discuss it.”

Board member Jennifer Leach asked Guide, a member of the school board the last time Northlake was closed, if he had “any words of wisdom” for them.

Before he could answer, Perkins, the union president, called out from the audience, “Duck and cover comes to mind!”

Guide replied, “Pray a lot. I think we all need a little bit more guidance.”

The teachers union represents about 375 faculty members, and 89 of them participated in Monday’s vote of no confidence, passing it 86 to 3.

School board member James Campbell said he wants to make sure teachers’ voices are heard, but Perkins said after the meeting that she’ll “wait and see. The district has never gone out of its way to get teacher input on this process. This (resolution) was our effort in trying to make that happen.”

The board scheduled a study session at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 25 to assemble a list of questions members say must be answered before they do anything else. The session is open to the public.

The board also agreed with the committee’s suggestion that an independent consultant be brought in to verify the costs, classroom sizes, enrollment projections and other figures provided by the DLR Group, the consultant that guided the committee process.

Copyright 2015 Longview Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(22) Comments

  1. 1091
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    1091 - February 12, 2013 2:41 am
    Not only were the teachers union NOT part of the process they were also NOT part of the 55 member committee...I was on the committee...why can you call a resolution one when out of a 55 member committee only 36 even voted...it was not that far off and if the absentee votes WERE allowed then I doubt it would have even passed as a resolution...myself and 8 others who could not make it were NO votes, however your vote only counted inperson...for 29 of us that could not make it...NOT fair.
  2. electriczipper
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    electriczipper - February 12, 2013 2:53 am
    It's all about football?
  3. techi50
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    techi50 - February 12, 2013 6:33 am
    This is tax payer money we are talking about saving.all this union is worried about is its position, and why do students have a say.this is about fiduciary duty to trhe tax paying citizens not pleaseing teachers and students
  4. confuzed
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    confuzed - February 12, 2013 8:01 am
    Jerry,
    The reality is the union will get growth from this because the #.s will increase.
    As a disfunctional group in present time we wounder why are educational system is in question?
    As a taxpayer and a citizen that has no options but to pay for a unproductive bennfit heavy group to try and educate, please look @ the whole picture and let your conciuos guide you.
  5. Hope2013
    Report Abuse
    Hope2013 - February 12, 2013 8:48 am
    The 4th paragraph refers to the 55 member committee. There were only 36 votes, 25 for and 11 against. What happend to the other 19 votes?? Could it be that a third of the committee grew so frustrated with a flawed process that they decided to call it quits after 5 months of hard work? That should say something......ALOT!
  6. Hope2013
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    Hope2013 - February 12, 2013 9:58 am
    Since when are absentee ballots not allowed. That makes zero sense. How could the committee leaders think 55 people, busy people, could make sure their schedules would allow for them to be present for a meeting that would be held 5 months in the future. They all put in a ton of time, effort and emotion into this process to be excluded at the 11th hour. I didn't believe it before but it is sounding more and more "pre-determined".
  7. ralfan
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    ralfan - February 12, 2013 10:03 am
    Techi50 - according to the district, no positions are being eliminated by the merger. Thus, the union isn't opposing it based on a worry about "its position." Also, the proposed merger actual costs the district money, according to the consultants themselves. So, maybe the union is worried about something else--like the fact that this proposal isn't in the best interest of the students involved, or, as the resolution states, the union has a lack of confidence in that the process and results.
  8. crowsfoot
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    crowsfoot - February 12, 2013 10:06 am
    "for 29 of us that could not make it...NOT fair." Whew, I don't care much about this issue but if you get on a committee that is supposed to make big decisions you shouldn't need water boarded to show up to vote.
  9. Skoobie
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    Skoobie - February 12, 2013 3:17 pm
    I'm with Crowsfoot. If you couldn't be bothered to set aside the time to attend the vote then you should have excused yourself from the committee to make room for people who can make the commitment. It's not the committee's job to pussyfoot around your schedule.
  10. Leslie Slape
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    Leslie Slape - February 12, 2013 3:36 pm
    First, a correction: The committee actually ended up being 48, which was said for the first time last night. I did not realize the number 55 was edited into the story. I will change the number in subsequent stories. Second, a reminder that this process went longer than planned. Committee members committed themselves for the original meetings but some were unable to attend the final meeting. Three of the people who couldn't come sent letters indicating their support for a merger.
  11. Leslie Slape
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    Leslie Slape - February 12, 2013 3:41 pm
    It was the choice of the committee to not accept absentee ballots. However, if absentees had been accepted, the three pro-merger letters would have been pro-merger votes, bringing the total to 28 yes. Even if you kept membership at 55 and counted all the other votes as nays, the ayes would still have it. At this point, the issue is in the hands of the school board and they are asking for public comment.
  12. Scot Heisel Staff
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    Scot Heisel - February 12, 2013 4:35 pm
    Please see Editor's note above, which appeared after this comment was posted. There are 48 members in the committee, not 55.
  13. Scot Heisel Staff
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    Scot Heisel - February 12, 2013 4:37 pm
    We just revised this article to report that the facilities committee has 48 members, not 55.
  14. getinvolved
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    getinvolved - February 12, 2013 5:28 pm
    Revising #'s seems to be an ongoing theme with this "process". The committee was formed for one purpose and as time rolled on, their charge seemed to changed at some point The meeting on 2/11 Ms Westrict questioned why only 1 option was presented. The sub-committee of 10 that drafted this "plan" (not 48 or 55, but 10), other than closing 4 schools or closing none? I am confused by the logic of overfilling the 2 smaller middle school and placing kids in portables? Options need to be explored.
  15. gogetyourown
    Report Abuse
    gogetyourown - February 12, 2013 10:22 pm
    Many people in this area are loosing choice. I bought my house in the area I did do my kids could go to MM.

    I will simply move. South 15 to 25 miles. Better for my family. Kids are finally on board with the move.

    Even if I loose money on the house. We are moving.

    Some have jobs that all ow that.

    I doubt this will be posted but I wonder how many will flee. How many of the Decent families.
  16. LVRes1976
    Report Abuse
    LVRes1976 - February 13, 2013 2:30 pm
    PLANNING requires a PROCESS! First step...years to go before anything could or would happen. Declining numbers in enrollment are a national trend. People are not having large families. The district is funded by the number of kids. Currently, the school district is be PROACTIVE (new concept to many of you) and trying to figure this out before they go bankrupt. Is the process perfect, nope. Is the decision final, NO! Yesh, stop freaking out and be part of the process, it was open to the community.
  17. SkiBum
    Report Abuse
    SkiBum - February 14, 2013 7:28 am
    So now they are going to hire a consultant to review the findings of the consultant. No confidence? Oh I can certainly understand why! Is there no end to the madness? Again I say, rather than look like an even bigger fool, simply do a better job of managing the resources you currently have. The leadership has already shown that they lack the skills and knowledge to take on such an enormous project regardless of how many consultants they hire. Why go down in history as the group who ruined it all
  18. electriczipper
    Report Abuse
    electriczipper - February 15, 2013 12:07 pm
    Build another at a convenient location that would allow for expansion if/when needed and at LCCs' expense then deed MM over to them. One too big of a school would be more problematic, I think (I could be wrong), than 2 smaller ones. As for location, somewhere between 3rd avenue, Oregon way, The Habitat for humanity, and Industrial way may be an answer, or the west side of town? jmho
  19. Elvira
    Report Abuse
    Elvira - February 16, 2013 8:26 am
    We are blessed to have smaller schools in this district. Our kids have MORE opportunities, less crime, closer connections to teachers/staff. We CAN make it work financially. The district has managed to amass over 8 million dollars in reserve money; albeit by shady budgeting -- so, it's possible to keep the facilities as they are. What we do need in this district is NEW LEADERSHIP who value education ahead of their own egos. Read http://www.wpaag.org/Consolidation%20Studies.htm
  20. cakemaker2000
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    cakemaker2000 - February 18, 2013 6:45 am
    Of course the UNION is complaining. This would SAVE money..... Heaven forbid the district should do something that SAVES money.....
  21. Euphonium
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    Euphonium - February 18, 2013 10:21 am
    Why should employees have a say about management duties & decisions? The union doesn't know its place in all this. If your last educational experience was HS, you probably have some loyalty to MM, but if you are a college grad, your HS experience was only a means to an end.
    "It is not possible to create the best future for our kids in the face of continued declining enrollment when we have our resources diverted to maintain excess property." Suzanne Cusick
    Suck it up Teach - U R lucky to 2 B W
  22. ralfan
    Report Abuse
    ralfan - February 20, 2013 7:54 pm
    Cakemaker2000, read the articles. This plan does not save money. The district gave that up some time ago. This plan costs money. Quite a bit of it. If you are going to have an opinion, it's better to have an informed one.
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