8 February 2017

Good evening, President Rothman, Board Members, Superintendent Martinez, Cabinet Members, APT and CSEA sisters and brothers and all those present this evening.

Since our Presidential Inauguration, with the executive orders and cabinet appointments, there has been a great deal of unease and uncertainty, not only throughout the nation and the world, but here at the local level as well. With yesterday’s confirmation of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, our education community is bracing itself for changes that could only come from someone that has had absolutely no experience in public education. I guessing that the best that we can hope for is that Ms. DeVos works toward decentralizing education and setting policy which will give California and Pomona Unified more local control over our decisions for our schools. And what feels like a war on immigrants is having a significant impact on our students, parents and families throughout this community.  As I have heard stories of fear and anxiety from my students, so too are my colleagues throughout the District hearing similar concerns from their students. Now, more than ever, do our educators that have chosen Pomona, need to be empathetic and supportive to our students and the new circumstances that they face until this new federal regime. I remember the words of assurance from Superintendent Martinez after the presidential election, that within the boundaries of PUSD, we will care for our own. We will take care of our own. We have our students’ backs. I have heard similar comments from other Cabinet members and I trust that our school board feels the same. This is something that the Associated Pomona Teachers can and will stand behind. We are committed to providing sanctuary for our students and we are willing to take a stand on behalf of our students, ensuring that they are safe, while they are under our care.

On a different note, we understand that some of our colleagues have found the salary schedule under the new contract to be confusing. The IBB Team, whether on the union side or administrative side is learning from this experience. We are assessing where we could have done a better job of explaining to our members the changes to the contract. We need to better help our members understand that they are not losing any years under this restructure. The agreement reached with the PUSD bargaining team was to eliminate longevity. That will result in unfreezing those that were stuck on various longevity barriers. This agreement does not take anything from anyone. The years one brought to Pomona counted in helping one reach the 15th step under the old salary schedule and would never have counted toward reaching any of the future longevity increments. This restructured salary schedule in fact provides more increases to members who brought years to Pomona sooner than they would have received under the old salary schedule. Under the old salary schedule, one would have had to wait additional years to move because of the longevity requirement at each increment, and now one will begin to move down the scale, year for year, starting next year.

We appreciate the work that Mr. Knowles and Mr. Brown have done over the past two weeks helping individual members, providing clarification about members’ individual placement on the salary schedule. Both Mr. Knowles and Mr. Brown are committed to continue providing individual assistance as long as needed.

Good evening.