SD Teachers Union Flexes Political Muscles
The San Diego teachers union proves it's a force to be reckoned in shaping school board politics in the San Diego Unified School District. The union helped to elect all three of its candidates last we
(Photo: San Diego teachers union poured money into its own campaign to help remake the school board. Ana Tintocalis/KPBS )
The San Diego teachers union
proves it's a force to be reckoned in shaping school board politics in the
San Diego Unified School District
. The union helped to elect all three of its candidates last week. The union's president says it was time for a change. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.
Last summer the teachers union had lost a fight with
the school board
to prevent hundreds of teachers from losing their jobs in the face of budget cuts. Those who kept their jobs saw their schools stripped of resources and personnel. It was a difficult time.
Teachers union president Camille Zombro says that's when organizers began pushing for a school board makeover.
We saw what these people suffered through. And so that certainly strengthen our resolve to replace this group (the current school board) with a group that actually takes us into account. Because this school board was not listening.
Zombro says their eyes turned to the November election. They poured close to $400,000 into its own campaign to unseat trustee Mitz Lee -- who voted for the layoffs -- and reelect Sheila Jackson -- who voted against them. They also backed newcomer Richard Barrera, a community organizer, who went unchallenged.
Jackson and the two new school board members are sympathetic to teachers issues. That could spell trouble for Superintendent Terry Grier and his reform plans, which have largely gone unchallenged by the rest of the school board.
Jackson, who won by a wide margin, says that'll change.
Jackson: He (Grier) brings forth a lot of ideas, and the board has been very gracious with saying 'Let's try them.' I think the (newly elected) board will be more of a board about the people, the students. We'll ask, 'How will that affect the students,' and we're going to ask for more details before we blanketly approve something.
For his part, Superintendent Terry Grier says he is ready and willing to work with the new school board, saying its his job to implement their vision and direction. The new trustees take their positions in December.
Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.