MDCPS Bond Issue: With Years of MDCPS’ Broken Financial Promises, Charges of Fraud, Mismanagement, and Numbers Manipulation, Will MDCPS Educators Support or Oppose The Bond Initiative at The 3 PM November 4th Rally?

http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=470

Dear Teachers and Support Staff:

We, the ground troops of public education, on the front lines daily for years, have delivered each and every year for MDCPS and for our communities.

Whichever way MDCPS and Florida have decided success would be defined, we have produced.

We have garnered award after award for our leaders, allowing them to be flown around the world to speak about OUR successes.

While THEY bask in the glow of our hard work, they pass resolutions for their salaries, for their healthcare, for their board paid expenses (phones, cars, meals)…we work hard under the ever increasing threat of surplussing, of the euphemism currently being used by both UTD and MDCPS for firing: “not being rehired…”

Yet we, the foundation of MDCPS, the ones who make teaching and learning happen everyday, we have been neglected and deceived about our pay, our benefits, and our security.

Chicago teachers just reminded us of the power in unity, in UNIONIZED teachers and support staff. 2 weeks of aggressive, unpleasant action secured for them the respect they deserve- in pay and action- unlike the respect in WORDS ONLY our weak union leadership has settled for- Holiday Greeting emails from Carvalho and Board members…when our mortgages are in jeopardy, our decisions are between the phone bill and food, annually our colleagues swamp the HR office with requests of proof of income to file for foodstamps and government aid, most of our colleagues with families cannot afford the MDCPS owned and operated CIGNA Health Insurance and many are on government welfare “Florida Healthy Kids.”

We haven’t see a raise in years. Wonderful promises are made every 3 years of this step improvement or that. But only half a year of a raise has been delivered by this union and school administration in 6 years. While they say they have saved jobs and point to “No Firings,” what they fail to tell you is that they have established a system to reduce employees by “Not Rehiring.” Its the same as firing.

We have surrendered our security and healthcare for a lie.

The truth is, the contract expired in July, as it does EVERY 3 years. The truth is, it is delayed to allow the district to only pay half of any step/raise used as bait to foist further loss of academic and professional dignity and freedom. The truth is, the union goes along with this because they have timed the union election cycle to coincide with the contract expiration cycle- allowing them to campaign in December for the contract, all while smiling and saying “by the way, if you like these promises, remember, we’re running for re-election in February.”

The truth is, this union leadership has FAILED to negotiate a contract in time to avoid loss of pay. The truth is, this union leadership has failed to uphold the law that states even if the contract expires, the raise and step terms are still to be honored. The truth is, this union leadership has never asked for nor insisted on your back pay for their failure to provide the new contract terms in a timely fashion.

Educators, we have a golden opportunity on hand to act like a real union of laborers- to act as the teachers in Chicago did recently and demand and receive dignity.

It will not be pleasant, but the rewards are great. Chicago teachers did not have a pleasant task, but they knew their future professional respect and treatment was at stake- AS IS OURS.

Our superintendent, Carvalho, has made a big gamble to convince the Miami taxpayers/voters to support his $1.2 Billion bond, voluntarily raising their taxes on average $10 per household.

Among other needed school infrastructural renovations is the purposing of a portion of this money to technology, a move feared by many teachers as further euphemistic language for elimination of teachers through virtual “teaching”, virtual “education.”

We ground troops – EDUCATORS- have a golden opportunity to either publicly support Carvalho’s call for increased local taxes for the schools…or to publicly condemn his request for MORE PUBLIC FUNDS.

I suggest that we prepare a massive public rally at a central, easily accessed park for 3 PM November 4th, the Sunday before the Tuesday November 6 Election Day. We will be prepared to either share with the public why we oppose further taxation of the public (ourselves included!) – on the basis of failed promises, failed delivery of functional curriculum (think Reading Plus, Read180, online textbooks, a gradebook program that crashes regularly and requires teachers to do their own verfication reports, SAP overruns and errors, substandard textbooks, purchased technology that doesn’t work and sits in closets gathering dust, etc – add your suggestions here__________)

OR,

We will rally to support Carvalho because he has made the past lies and failures to his teachers and support staff RIGHT.

We all support the renovation of our schools, just as Chicago Teachers supported being in their classrooms teaching instead of striking…but they knew enough is enough. They knew that if they didn’t take aggressive, decisive action, fewer and fewer of them would survive to pass on their wisdom and knowledge in the art of teaching in Chicago.

So too, we in Miami know that unless we act decisively, we will continue to see our academic freedom disappear, that we will see the experienced veterans eliminated just because they are more expensive, that we will see more and more of our colleagues replaced by computers and temporary hires (“Troops or ____to teachers” “Teach for America” etc), we will see promise after promise of our financial CARE broken and merely used as bait to maintain the compromised partnership between union leadership and district management.

We will give Carvalho and Aronowitz an Ultimatum – either announce to us – the educators and support staff represented by UTD- that a successor contract is ready to go into place with a respectable and long overdue raise with back pay (I’m thinking 2 steps with a couple thousand back pay due immediately) OR we will rally to show that Carvalho and MDCPS have a history of broken promises, State Attorney Investigations, Auditor General Exceptions, poor budget decisions and purchases, misplaced priorities.

The announcement must be made by Thursday, November 1st 5 PM, or we will proceed to enumerate to the public the failures of this system with monies already entrusted.

On the other hand, if they will deliver to us the message that our neglect and desperation has been heard and that our demands as educators will be met with a solid commitment to our bargaining team, we will rally to celebrate and support Carvalho’s bond initiative.

I submit this action to you as the action a Union would take in support of its members and non-members for which it has voluntarily stepped forward to represent as bargaining agent.

Regards,

Shawn Beightol Beights@yahoo.com Www.shawnbeightol.com

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Anonymous

    Addendum:nnComplaint filed 10/23/12 with inspector general and attorney general:nnMDCPS administration continues to violate its own Board Rules on political activity. nnI am reporting that, directly in violation of nn*FS 104.31u2003Political activities of state, county, and municipal officers and employees.u2014n(1)u2003No officer or employee of the state, or of any county or municipality thereof, except as hereinafter exempted from provisions hereof, shall:n(a)u2003Use his or her official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with an election or a nomination of office or coercing or influencing another personu2019s vote or affecting the result thereof.n(2)u2003An employee of the state or any political subdivision may not participate in any political campaign for an elective office while on duty.nn*MDCPS Board Rules 1232, 3232, & 4232 – POLITICAL ACTIVITIESn “Pursuant to State law and Policy 6480, administrative staff members may not expend public funds (that is, any funds under n the jurisdiction or control of the District) for a political advertisement or electioneering communication concerning an n issue, referendum, or amendment, including State questions, that is subject to a vote of the electors.nnIn particular, note the language prohibiting “electioneering communication concerning an issue, referendum, or amendment…”nn*Also, MDCPS Board Rule 6480 – EXPENDITURESn “Neither the District, nor any person acting on behalf of the District, may expend general funds for (1) political n advertisement or electioneering communication;…”nnPlease note that schools are being directed to distribute materials, post signs, and campaign on election day FOR the bond approval, including using paper supplies to print flyers, when teachers are being rationed paper (there isn’t paper enough to print student materials, but they are directing us to print and distribute campaign influencing material):nn “Briefing ID #: 12785 URGENT: ALL PRINCIPALS: Educational Resources Regarding Bond Referendum n As we near the November 6, 2012, General Election, principals are asked to share the following educational resources with n all parents and community stakeholders. The flyer is to include: nn General Obligation Bond “Fact Sheets,” which can be found attached to this briefing. n Please duplicate the Fact Sheet on one side with the proposed improvements for your location on the other side and send homen with all students on Thursday, October 25, 2012.”nnNot only do these instructions and activities violate board rules and state law prohibiting political activity, they interfere with instructional time and take away educational resources (paper, toner, copy time) that are in short supply (rationed!) already.nnWe teachers have collected photographs and materials that show the district is using resources and bandwidth to persuade voters with taxpayer paid resources. Furthermore, employees are being coerced to participate in the influencing of public opinion on the voting issue and to distribute the taxpayer paid for materials.nnSchools are being provided with pdf flyers and they are being printed at the school sites and teachers are being asked to interrupt their teaching time to distribute the flyers to students.nnHere is an excerpt from one flyer “222 WHAT? Miami-Dade County Public Schools will ask county voters to invest in their schools by approving the issuance of a $1.2 billion General Obligation (GO) Bond” (this is the flyer that is to be copied and distributed at each school site, it can be found here http://briefings.dadeschools.net/files/99239_Fact_Sheet2_Eng_Sp_HC.pdf ).nnThe administrative instructions that accompanied the flyer sent by school email “Tomorrow I will be placing in your mailbox a flyer on the Bond Issue for the November 6th election. Please distribute the flyer to your 7th period students on Thursday before they leave” nnThough the district may call this “educational material” and that they’re only educating parents, there is NO mention of ballot choice 223 (NO to the bond). nnThe effects of the administrative directives and the school activities are to utilize public taxpayer resources to illegally influence public voting behavior in the affirmative on a ballot issue.nnPlease contact me and let me know what you are doing about this.nnRegards,nnShawn Beightol

  • Anonymous

    Addendum:nnComplaint filed 10/23/12 with inspector general and attorney general:nnMDCPS administration continues to violate its own Board Rules on political activity. nnI am reporting that, directly in violation of nn*FS 104.31u2003Political activities of state, county, and municipal officers and employees.u2014n(1)u2003No officer or employee of the state, or of any county or municipality thereof, except as hereinafter exempted from provisions hereof, shall:n(a)u2003Use his or her official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with an election or a nomination of office or coercing or influencing another personu2019s vote or affecting the result thereof.n(2)u2003An employee of the state or any political subdivision may not participate in any political campaign for an elective office while on duty.nn*MDCPS Board Rules 1232, 3232, & 4232 – POLITICAL ACTIVITIESn “Pursuant to State law and Policy 6480, administrative staff members may not expend public funds (that is, any funds under n the jurisdiction or control of the District) for a political advertisement or electioneering communication concerning an n issue, referendum, or amendment, including State questions, that is subject to a vote of the electors.nnIn particular, note the language prohibiting “electioneering communication concerning an issue, referendum, or amendment…”nn*Also, MDCPS Board Rule 6480 – EXPENDITURESn “Neither the District, nor any person acting on behalf of the District, may expend general funds for (1) political n advertisement or electioneering communication;…”nnPlease note that schools are being directed to distribute materials, post signs, and campaign on election day FOR the bond approval, including using paper supplies to print flyers, when teachers are being rationed paper (there isn’t paper enough to print student materials, but they are directing us to print and distribute campaign influencing material):nn “Briefing ID #: 12785 URGENT: ALL PRINCIPALS: Educational Resources Regarding Bond Referendum n As we near the November 6, 2012, General Election, principals are asked to share the following educational resources with n all parents and community stakeholders. The flyer is to include: nn General Obligation Bond “Fact Sheets,” which can be found attached to this briefing. n Please duplicate the Fact Sheet on one side with the proposed improvements for your location on the other side and send homen with all students on Thursday, October 25, 2012.”nnNot only do these instructions and activities violate board rules and state law prohibiting political activity, they interfere with instructional time and take away educational resources (paper, toner, copy time) that are in short supply (rationed!) already.nnWe teachers have collected photographs and materials that show the district is using resources and bandwidth to persuade voters with taxpayer paid resources. Furthermore, employees are being coerced to participate in the influencing of public opinion on the voting issue and to distribute the taxpayer paid for materials.nnSchools are being provided with pdf flyers and they are being printed at the school sites and teachers are being asked to interrupt their teaching time to distribute the flyers to students.nnHere is an excerpt from one flyer “222 WHAT? Miami-Dade County Public Schools will ask county voters to invest in their schools by approving the issuance of a $1.2 billion General Obligation (GO) Bond” (this is the flyer that is to be copied and distributed at each school site, it can be found here http://briefings.dadeschools.net/files/99239_Fact_Sheet2_Eng_Sp_HC.pdf ).nnThe administrative instructions that accompanied the flyer sent by school email “Tomorrow I will be placing in your mailbox a flyer on the Bond Issue for the November 6th election. Please distribute the flyer to your 7th period students on Thursday before they leave” nnThough the district may call this “educational material” and that they’re only educating parents, there is NO mention of ballot choice 223 (NO to the bond). nnThe effects of the administrative directives and the school activities are to utilize public taxpayer resources to illegally influence public voting behavior in the affirmative on a ballot issue.nnPlease contact me and let me know what you are doing about this.nnRegards,nnShawn Beightol