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The teachers union has joined with other school employee unions to bar the principals union from a labor group that jointly discusses health and welfare issues after principals openly criticized a controversial proposal from the teachers union intended to limit teacher workloads in San Diego Unified.

Principals have questioned whether the plan would tie their hands in making any changes to teachers’ duties. Several principals spoke before the school board about their concerns; union director Bruce McGirr also blogged about the issue here. Camille Zombro, president of the teachers union, also blogged about the issue, calling the opponents “at best intentionally ill-informed and at worst maliciously anti-educator.”

In an Oct. 15 letter to the principals union, Zombro wrote that after meeting with unions that represent school police and noneducators such as bus drivers and clerical workers, they concluded that neither McGirr nor University City High Principal Mike Price, who spoke publicly about the issue, could participate in joint meetings about health benefits. The principals union would be barred from the meetings unless they submitted a written retraction of their comments by November 18, Zombro wrote.

The letter was obtained by voiceofsandiego.org after it was forwarded to the school board, making it a public document. Asked about the letter over e-mail, Zombro wrote:

The San Diego Education Association has the utmost respect for the rank and file administrators in SDUSD who work hard to support a quality teaching and learning environment in our schools. We do not, as a matter of principle, participate in public criticism of other unions. While we are disheartened by AASD’s recent actions and their decision to contact the media and elected officials about an internal matter, we remain hopeful that we can find common ground in the future from which to focus on the critical issues before ALL of us in public education.

EMILY ALPERT

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