President's Message

March 2017

How Being A Full-Time President Has Improved My Ability To Hear Your Concerns And Take Actions To Resolve Them

-Kai Brown

2016-17 was our first year having a full-time President, and I am pleased to report a significant increase in my ability to serve you. I have had more time to manage our union, improve our communication, and expand and ensure representation of all members.

The president’s job is multifaceted. In its essence, the president is the leader of the association and the main advocate for its members. Some of the many presidential responsibilities include: meeting with concerned members; making site visits; answering members emails; coordinating with CTA and other local presidents; meeting regularly with HR , school board members and the superintendent; being the spokesperson for the association; helping members get legal help; researching and answering questions regarding our contract language, California Education Code and Labor Law, and running the Executive board and Representative assembly meetings. It’s a full time job and we need a full time president to do it effectively. Here are a few reasons why.

Under the 60% /40% as president structure (which would be the alternative to a full time president), the president teaches for 60% of the day- having to attend to all that a teaching job entails (parent meetings, PD, lesson planning, grading papers etc.), then spends the remainder of the day dealing with the responsibilities of being president. This creates a constant struggle to stay on top of things. Inevitably, while still putting in long hours, the president has to choose between putting energy into one job or another. Personally, I felt both jobs suffered.

As a full time president I have been able to make more than 35 site visits. The current model in which both the CEA president and the superintendent visit sites together is only possible if the president is full time. Being a full time president also means that when sites or individuals face a crisis the president can immediately go to the school to provide support.

As president one must stand up for our members’ rights. This can sometimes lead to a contentious relationship between CEA and the district. I think it is important to have a president who is independent of the district and doesn’t have to worry about CEA issues influencing his or her evaluation.

Of the teachers in CUSD Approximately ⅔ of the teachers in CUSD are elementary teachers. Under the current model, an elementary teacher would either teach 3 out of 5 days or leave after lunch everyday. This schedule means splitting a position and can create a disjointed learning experience for students. Our membership also includes Speech Pathologists, Counselors, Instructional Support Teachers and Psychologists. It would be very difficult to define what a 60% workload

Across California large associations such as ours have full time release presidents. In Santa Clara, all associations our size have a full time president. I hope you all can see the value of having a dedicated full time president, I know on a daily basis, I am able to serve you much better because of this change.