Dear Peralta Community,
Welcome to 2011-12’s first e-Communiqué, the twice-monthly email update from the Peralta Federation of Teachers. We’ll preview the first board of trustees meeting of the school year, set for seven tonight at 333 E. Eighth St., but first we feel compelled to decry the devastating section cuts and consequent loss of part-time faculty jobs.
According to VC of Educational Services Debbie Budd, the state has slashed the number of full-time equivalent students (FTES) for which it will compensate the district from 19,500 in 2010-11 to 18,200 in 2011-12. The district served 20,200 students last year, so hitting the new target means jettisoning 2,000 FTES and a corresponding percentage of FTEF, mostly part-time faculty. And since the state’s likely to lower the target further—possibly by as many as 400-500 additional FTES—more “workload reductions” may be on the way.
Little can be done to slow the destruction of public education in California without a fair, progressive tax system. Until the Golden State wises up, Peralta’s full-time faculty can help save the dwindling number of part-time jobs by forgoing extra-service assignments. And all faculty, staff, and students—and administrators, too!—can demand that the district stop hiring consultants even as it continues to turn students away, let faculty go, and lay off classified staff.
*Among the agenda items before the board tonight are four that together authorize ladling out over half a million dollars to consultants, including $84.5K to Bob Barr for “professional institutional effectiveness services”; $90K to Jim Grivich for helping Peralta address ACCJC concerns; $69K to George Kozitza for various Laney-management issues; and $280K to employment lawyer Larry Frierson for advising the district HR office. All this cash comes from the general fund, and might well have been used to save about 100 classes and 50 part-timers’ jobs.
In addition to consultant paydays, tonight’s agenda features 2.0 FTEs’ worth of staff layoffs. The pink slips go to district childcare workers, dismissed due to the state’s defunding of categorical programs.
*The PFT Executive Council voted to endorse efforts to get an oil-severance tax on the June 2012 California ballot. The initiative, 1481, would charge oil companies 15% for each barrel of oil extracted from California earth and earmark the money for education, and includes language preventing companies from passing on the costs to consumers. The PFT EC also endorsed SB 810, Sen. Mark Leno’s single-payer healthcare reform bill, and moved to support an Oct. 1 stop at Laney by the Justice Tour, headed by Rev. Edward and Dorothy Pinkney, community activists from Benton Harbor, MI, a city recently placed under financial martial law. The Pinkney event starts at 6 p.m. in Room E 255—don’t miss it!
Matthew M. Goldstein, President
Debby Weintraub, Communications Director
Peralta Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1603