Dear Editor – Teacher and Employee Unions Declare Neutrality on Measure E

Dear Editor:

The Culver City Federation of Teachers (CCFT), along with the Association of Classified Employees (ACE), will remain neutral on an endorsement of the Measure E facilities bond. Our position neither supports nor opposes Measure E that appears on the March 5th ballot. Any claims that CCUSD teachers, staff, school counselors, nurses or classified employees collectively support any position other than neutral are inaccurate. Both unions collectively, legally, and exclusively represent all non-management and non-confidential employees in the district. CCFT and ACE were participants in the first facilities bond meeting the district held on November 7th

At the meeting, both unions and some community members expressed concern that a rushed process of putting the Measure on the March ballot may not allow enough time to build support for a bond. Furthermore, labor and community members also noted that many of the initial bond priorities were from an outdated plan that never had much input from staff. There were also discussions on issues around trust, including past and current practice of how money is spent.

CCFT and ACE began engaging our membership around the bond issue by visiting sites on Wednesdays and agendized discussions at union meetings. At these meetings, members continually told us that there were issues with trust, unclear facilities plans, lack of staff engagement and what seemed like a rushed process. The meetings were very eye-opening. We then asked the district and board to also engage with staff over these concerns. The District responded with a series of Wednesday meetings, in which many of the concerns we had heard about were addressed.

The district also committed to expanding the bond oversight committee and allowing unions, community committees and city council to have a say in its formation. We are also excited the district is committed to forming bond advisory committees at each site to help make decisions on priorities at each site if the bond were to pass. We thank Superintendent Dr. Brian Lucas and Interim Superintendent Dr. Maria Poulin for engaging staff in such a limited amount of time. We also want to thank Board Members Brian Guerrero and Stephanie Loredo for engaging our union members at our meetings.

Recently, CCFT and ACE polled our members for the second time about an endorsement of the bond, and a majority of our members chose to remain neutral on the bond. Our members make these decisions, not the Presidents or other union leaders. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of misinformation spread around about the union endorsement and our role, so we want to set the record straight on how this entire process was done. In our poll, we also asked members for comments.

Below are the most common or recurring themes:
– Lack of trust that the money will be spent on projects that will benefit staff and students
– Too rushed of a process, should have waited until November to build support and finalize plans
– Current plans were confusing, they need updating with much more staff input
– Lack of trust in some members of the board of education
– District has historically wasted money and continues to waste money
– District should redo this plan the right way and put it on another ballot

Ultimately if voters in Culver City do approve the bond, both CCFT and ACE will commit to continuing to work with the district to create an environment where all voices are included and heard. We want to see a plan that will improve facilities for both staff and students. If the bond does not pass, we will continue to work with CCUSD on a plan that meets the needs of staff and students.

Culver City Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1343, AFL-CIO
Association of Classified Employees, CTA/NEA

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