Dear board members:
I will repeat my requests to you that I made at the Wednesdays board meeting, a meeting that was an embarrassment to me.
Not because I was ridiculed (being the only one who spoke to the contract ratification, Mr. Carvalho’s attacks against “some who spoke here” were directed ONLY toward me) – I am used to people attacking my character and other ad hominem attacks rather than factual rebuttals.
I am embarrassed by the behavior demonstrated yesterday – not the content of the ad hominem attacks, but the fact that such thinly veiled ad hominem attacks were resorted to.
The derogatory comparison of another country’s currency/economy meant to belittle and minimize the $137 million ADDITIONAL FEFP funding (btw, the items Mr. Carvalho listed to subtract from the FEFP increase should have been listed in comparison, not to $137 million increase that included funding sufficient for raises of $2200 for 24000 – a liberal estimate of the bargaining unit including support staff, but to the $2.38 BILLION Tallahassee sends us).
I’m embarrassed that no one called him on this smoke-and-mirror tactic. It is reminiscent of the language “Tallahassee has cut our budget” even though Tallahassee has predominantly INCREASED our funding annually (if you survey the funding out of Tallahassee, it is evident that INCREASES FAR OUTWEIGH CUTS). It seems that not only does the public not understand the difference between a FANTASY BUDGET and REALITY FUNDING (I have described it like this: a child gets an allowance of $10 weekly from mom (funding). He announces he is planning a trip to Disney World and needs more allowance (fantasy budget). His mom says “I’ll give you another $1 weekly (increased funding). He cries and tells his friends “I can’t go to Disney with you, my mom CUT MY BUDGET!” – even though his allowance INCREASED!
I’m embarrassed by the avoidance of clear statements and questions:
Dr. Perez, you asked a question and were NOT given the simple, direct answer to your simple, direct question. You were given a run around.
MY INSURANCE RATES ABSOLUTELY INCREASE BY $2700 TO KEEP THE SAME COVERAGE [I pay $636 per month *12 currently = $7632 (salary band 4, family plan). Next year this jumps to $863 per month * 12 =$10356, The difference in PREMIUMS alone is $2724 to keep the same insurance.).
[As I said in my earlier letter to you before your vote: "But this isn’t about me, its about the bargaining unit (including support staff who are seeing a 2.3% increase ~ $4-500 per year)…On average, anyone staying on OAP20 will see an increase in premiums of $1200; on OAP10, an increase of $1600; and even if they switch to the UNDESCRIBED/UNDEFINED Local Plus from OAP20, their premiums will go up an average of $455, easily eating up any support staff’s family’s meager increase in pay. This is just for PREMIUMS. Under the new terms of service/costs, the average annual healthcare costs will go up anywhere from $2800 (individual) to $7100 (family of 4) as projected from Merrill Lynch’s projected healthcare costs for next year."]
Ms. Castillo, you were lied to.
The Local Plus option was ABSOLUTELY OMITTED FROM THE DESCRIPTION OF THE TENTATIVE AGREEMENT TO BE RATIFIED. It was absent from the district webpage until AFTER I announced it and challenged staff or UTD to publicly say where this information was made available to the voters. It has since been added to the district webpage (see today’s page: http://shawnbeightol.com/MDCPSMainpageEditPostSpeechtoShowLocalPlusInsExpl.jpg ), but I took pictures (with dates) of the district pages PRIOR to my speech and this information is missing (see http://shawnbeightol.com/MDCPSMainpageLackingLocalPlusInsExplNov4.jpg ).
I am going to state this again to be clear: Aside from the premium/cost column at the end of the agreement, Local Plus information was NOT provided as part of the final Tentative Agreement materials made available to the bargaining unit. It represents a major change from last year’s plan.
The description was added to MDCPS website AFTER the vote, as far as I can tell, AFTER MY SPEECH and letter to you.
VOTERS DID NOT KNOW WHAT THEY WERE VOTING FOR.
I am embarrassed by the thinly disguised “bump, set, spike” approach used by a board member asking a series of questions designed to draw attention away from my facts and toward other entities (Broward’s most expensive health option. Note to Boardmember “Setter” Feldman: thanks for pointing out Broward’s Healthcare system as an example of WHAT IS WRONG WITH A SYSTEM THAT CONTINUES TO RAISE ITS RATES BEYOND AFFORDABILITY: Indeed, it drew the attention of the Florida Ethics Commission, the FBI, and ultimately resulted in Broward Board member Kraft’s arrest for corruption. So “Good Tip” from the “Setter.” We’ll keep looking for those corruption forces that might be tied to MDCPS’ inability to direct its teacher earmarked funds to the teachers).
I am embarrassed that when a few of you board members DID ask the critical questions, Mr. Carvalho interrupted his staff’s answering and essentially told them how to answer the question – answers that were NOT specific, but rather round and round generalities and cliches.
I am embarrassed that when I stood to speak at SP-2 and challenged ANYONE on staff or UTD to tell the public WHERE the link to the information for Local Plus could be found, there was nothing but silence. To argue that SP-2 wasn’t the place to respond to an already passed SP-1 item is hollow – UTD’s Fed Ingram followed my 2 simple questions with his own round and round general SP-1 speech that never came close to answering my question “Where is the link to Local Plus” information so that the voters could have cast informed votes.
I’m embarrassed that once again, the 4th largest school district in the nation has ratified a hodge-podge of pdf pages that it passes off as a contract – containing typographical errors, mis/disorganized information, factually incorrect information, legally contradictory information (see my last letter for details).
I’m embarrassed that few question the reported election tally of an election that costs employees more than it benefits, especially with UTD’s challenged and proven inability to run an honest election (see
These showed UTD utilized a method for vote counting that could not be verified (proving the June 2011, August 2011, and February 2012 UTD Tentative Agreement Ratification results were unreliable and untrustworthy).
http://shawnbeightol.com/BushSmithLeichnervsUTD.pdf – this ongoing litigation, with former UTD VP Leichner as co-plaintiff, alleged voting irregularities and possible fraud
http://shawnbeightol.com/Genos10-13motionadding2013votefraud.pdf – this ongoing litigation alleges ballot box stuffing in both 2010 and 2013 officer elections
I’m embarrassed that people do not know the history of the MDCPS bureaucracy’s2 penchant for distorting information, misplaced priorities, and twisted means to achieve goals:
“we were never able to establish where the money is presently being kept. Is the money sitting in an account somewhere?…” (Grand Jury, PART 1,Spring 2000
“We received a somewhat misleading chart from the District Office…”(Grand Jury, PART 1, Spring 2000, ibid )
“it may not be quite as much as the District suggests…We identified a reoccurring problem…The Office of Facilities and Management provided us with information that was not entirely accurate…The effect, was that we were being misled.” (Grand Jury, ibid, Spring 2000).
“District Staff sent a memo to the School Board that…The Grand Jury found to be an ‘alarming misrepresentation’”(Grand Jury, 2002, http://www.miamisao.com/publications/grand_jury/2000s/gj2002f.pdf )
“On the day the football player was arrested, District Administration made it crystal clear that its priorities were skewed…The State championship game was to be played in a few days [and] the big question on the day of arrest was, “Should the kid play?” Not, “How is the little girl?”…a decision usually made by a principal, was made by District Administrators and attorneys for the School District. Their decision was to let him play…Another decision was soon to be made and it proved to be of even greater concern to us. It appeared that an effort was made by a high level district administrator to halt the criminal investigation” (Grand Jury, FALL TERM 2006, http://www.miamisao.com/publications/grand_jury/2000s/gy2006f.pdf )
“The investigation revealed that [a regional administrator] used her position and friendship with various M-DCPS employees at [a local school] and at regional offices to obtain the necessary evaluations and documentation for her daughter to be awarded a McKay Scholarship.” (OIG Annual Report, 2009-2010, http://mca.dadeschools.net/AuditCommittee/AC_December10/item15.pdf
“Miami-Dade’s alleged overuse of a Florida law called the Baker Act surfaced in the media toward the end of the last school year…Critics said the law, which allows police officers to transport students for involuntary psychiatric evaluations instead of arresting them, allowed the chief to pad school crime statistics.” (http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2012/09/portland_public_schools_hire_f.html)
And the point of raising these examples of staff improprieties is to remind all of us of the need for constant vigilance to provide righteous, humane, dignified work conditions for those who labor beneath us.
At Wednesday’s board meeting, I made the following requests:
1) Find a way to allow teachers to use the same email system that UTD, MDCPS and a host of vendors and politicians use to promote/market their ideas and profits. To continue to block solid discourse on the factors that affect our work conditions is dictatorial and resembles the kinds of governing seen in China, Cuba, and Venezuela.
2) Assess what is happening trend-wise to employee utilization of healthcare provisions. To slowly drive out employees and families without shifting the financial resources to the employees to obtain equivalent healthcare in the private marketplace is dishonest and unethical. The State of Florida is providing MDCPS with funds based on the historical understanding (work conditions) that a portion of it will be used to provide healthcare. A quick average of the Employer contribution for healthcare from the recent tentative agreement puts it at approximately $900 per month, average. If you are serious about providing your employees with choice as well as the peace of mind necessary to allow us to focus on our work at a professional level, earmark as much of that as possible to the employee for their choice of healthcare alternatives to the increasingly prohibitive Cigna Self-Insured option provided by MDCPS. Additionally, the changes being wrought by ACA/Obamacare are huge and will require patient, compassionate coaching to help the employees obtain the best healthcare for their individual needs. We are an educational system, surely asking you to help educate our employees is within our reach!
3) Finally, no matter how I slice it, Tallahassee’s encouragement to provide your teachers (and support staff) with raises calculated at $2500 (including FRS and FICA funding on top!), I cannot arrive at the $1350 amount that most employees will see. Taking all bargaining unit members full time for a LIBERAL amount at 26000 employees, this results in $2423 each. When we deduct the $10 million for charters from the $63 Million provided, this is still $2038 each – recurring – BEFORE RTTT amounts. There’s a reason that Tallahassee’s politically motivated recommendation of a $2500 raise passed both the legislative test and the public opinion test – your employees NEED this to help us focus our energy on doing our jobs professional with minimal (dis)stress. Please, take your staff critically and send them back to find a way to shift adequate portions of the state funding to employee compensation.
MDCPS Chemistry Instructor (20 years)
John A Ferguson Sr High Teacher of the Year 2013