music in the park san jose

The San Benito High School Teachers’ Association and the
district are starting the new school year with legal action.
The San Benito High School Teachers’ Association and the district are starting the new school year with legal action.

Before the first football game has even been played, an unfair labor practices charge over a change in teacher work conditions has been filed.

We’re not here to assign blame because we are not knowledgeable enough to do so. But we will definitely register our disappointment. And we know we are not alone in shaking our heads in resignation. Teachers, parents, and administrators have all registered frustration with a circumstance that is repeating itself. Last year, the Teachers’ Association filed over a similar scheduling change.

There is never a good time for a legal distraction, but the timing of this year’s disagreement is particularly frustrating. The kids have just returned to school; teachers and administrators are trying to settle in. New SBHS Superintendent Stan Rose is a preparing to take over for Jean Burns Slater.

Rose, obviously, has his work cut out for him, and not work of the more pleasant kind. He now has a legal headache that both sides need to iron out. The teachers and administrators need to get it together. And it doesn’t appear that will happen soon. At an “informal hearing” last week at the Public Employee Relations Board office in Oakland, teacher representatives and district representatives came away with distinctly different interpretations of what was stated by an administrative law judge conducting the meeting.

Further, the discussion centered mostly around the charge filed by the Teachers’ Association last year. Not this year’s. So further discussion and negotiation is assured. Both sides, to their credit, have also stated that they hope negotiations can resume as soon as possible.

What effect this acrimony will have on students is unclear. Most likely they are too engaged in the culture of high school to pay any attention at all. Most likely they could care less. But if teachers become exhausted and administrators snappish, it will trickle down to students. Communication on more levels could be strained.

And when it comes down to it, these disagreements appear to be lapses in basic negotiation communication. Something has broken the link between these groups. It needs to be restored before further legal activity is taken by either side. Hopefully, the new superintendent will be able to strengthen the chain before it snaps completely.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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