Dear citizens of Union City:
Reclaim your schools. Elect a new school board. Demand the resignation of your superintendent. Hold your school administrators on a short leash and demand transparency and accountability. No longer accept the collusion of the local teacher's union and the school district in mismanaging public funds and minimizing your children's education.
I was a pawn in a political ploy made by the and the New Haven Teacher's Association. In order to generate support for the most recent failed parcel tax measure I received and a final notice of layoff in May. So did four other of my fellow school band directors at the high school and middle schools. It is not hyperbole to state that the wind band program at has been one of the best in the country during my tenure.
After having invested 13 years into this program, I thought it unconscionable how these layoffs came to be. As I learned from a CTA lawyer, the district could have protected the specialists that created this gem of a program, but chose not to. Since I received no communication from the central administration during this process other than layoff notices, I understood my skills were regarded as dispensable, if not simply unrecognized and disregarded. I began a national job search and secured employment at an excellent band program elsewhere in the country.
NHTA and NHUSD then promoted , with the help of parent boosters, as purportedly the only way to: restore school music, school electives, and school extra-curricular activities. The language of the measure did not state this. It in fact stated clearly that the money was to support core curriculum. I was educated by the NHTA this was because the 2011 parcel tax had failed, and research showed that people would not vote for extra funding to support school music, school electives and school extra-curricular activities. The campaign for Measure H was apparently a ruse designed to extort money to, among other things, help fund the program with which I was involved.
The day after Measure H failed, the district, arm in arm with the NHTA, unveiled .
The puppet strings lodged in my back became distinctly apparent.
An NHTA representative stated recently in a mass email to teachers that the financial problem facing the school district is not an "us vs. them" situation. The problem lies solely with state leadership. Citizens, administrators and teachers are all in this together. Nonsense. NHUSD is reaping the whirlwind which they have sown with poor financial decision after poor financial decision. These have included: needlessly tearing down the continuation high school, constructing 9th grade science facilities on what remains 6-8 middle school campuses, needless construction of an elementary school based on incorrect population projections (this same school not built to code for use by all grades K-5), union-district salary negotiations that chose to ignore the coming economic storm until it was too late...
Other districts (with the consent of their local union membership) in California instituted furlough days years ago on a much more modest level, and now have a surplus of funds and no furlough days and a lower student-teacher ratio due to their vision, and saved the needless parade of annual pink slips. NHUSD could have done the same, but chose not to.
Reclaim your schools. Elect a new school board. Demand the resignation of your superintendent. Hold your school's administrators on a short leash and demand transparency and accountability. No longer accept the collusion of the local teacher's union and the school district in mismanaging public funds and minimizing your children's education.
Thank you for your attention.
Kenneth J. Karlin
Associate Director of Bands
James Logan High School, 1999-2012