Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live


Teachers at Gompers Prep will vote on whether to decertify their union

Teachers at Gompers Preparatory Academy in Chollas View have been part of the San Diego Education Association since 2019. But some say they were forced to join, now they want out. KPBS Education Reporter M.G. Perez has the story.

A state agency gave teachers at Gompers Preparatory Academy in Chollas View approval to vote on decertifying their union.

Fifty teachers at the public charter school have been a part of the San Diego Education Association (SDEA) since 2019. The SDEA represents more than 6,000 Pre-K through 12th-grade educators and visiting teachers in the San Diego Unified School District, which operates in cooperation with UC San Diego.

But some teachers say they were forced to join the union, and they’ve been fighting for a decertification vote.


Cindy Ornelas has been teaching 6th-grade math and science at Gompers for the past eight years. She is leading a group of her fellow educators who do not want to be part of a union. They say they want to return to the freedom and flexibility of the charter school they believe in.

“The union has just been divisive and instigating trouble when they can. So, a lot of people are intimidated by that," said Ornelas.

The California Public Employment Relations Board, known as PERB, approved a vote by mail-in ballot, starting May 10.

Mark Mix is with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and is assisting teachers to maneuver legal hurdles to decertify.

“That’s why we’re helping the folks at Gompers, because the labyrinth of labor law and the regulations are very complicated. If you miss (the window to apply) you’re blocked for another 12 months," Mix said.


According to sources with the SDEA, the union continues to have the support of a majority of teachers whose numbers have been cut through attrition over the past several years.

Vallery Campos is part of the group of Gompers teachers who want to keep the union and will vote against decertification.

“There were things that needed to happen with our working conditions to improve in order to attract and retain teachers. I know there’s a teacher shortage, but we have 23 vacancies and that is detrimental to student learning,” she said.

There were no official comments from the union regarding the PERB decertification decision.

Teachers will have until June 6 to submit their ballots.

Currently, SDEA is in negotiations with San Diego Unified on a new contract that includes demands for higher wages and more support staffing. The Gompers teaching staff is involved with separate negotiations being conducted directly with the charter school management team.

If the decertification vote passes, negotiations with the district would end immediately and the staff would be left to deal with the school management as it was before the union came to campus.

Related podcasts