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As San Diego Unified crafts a new facilities bond for the November ballot, the teachers union has withdrawn from a task force charged with disseminating information about the bond. Union president Camille Zombro called the effort ill-planned and untimely amid hundreds of planned teacher layoffs.
“It just doesn’t seem like the district has its priorities straight,” said Camille Zombro, union president. For instance, new libraries built through a past bond may be unstaffed, as the school district considers cutting librarians. “Are they going to fix facilities and leave them empty?”
Recently, union directors pulled out of the San Diego Unified Facilities Task Force, a key element of the bond planning. Task force members are drawn from school-related groups ranging from school police to community relations staff to the blue-collar workers union, and are supposed to report back to their groups about the bond’s progress. Explaining the teachers union’s withdrawal, Zombro said she’s unconvinced that the bond has had ample community input. Furthermore, she said, the union has to prioritize helping more than 900 teachers who received layoff notices last month.
“Our message is not that upgrading facilities is not a worthwhile and important priority, it is simply that restoring the hundreds of women and men who make our schools work and bargaining for a fair contract are our top priorities,” she wrote in a letter to Superintendent Terry Grier.
Yet Zombro left open the possibility of future involvement with the bond planning:
“As the Task Force moves toward more formal plans and an actual ballot initiative we may revisit our participation,” she wrote.