The teachers in the Orange Unified School District have been shown the respect and consideration they so well deserve by the election of Melissa Smith, Kathy Moffat, Kimberlee Nichols and Rick Ledesma. Thereby, the voters have clearly expressed their belief in what is best for the many thousands of young people who attend public schools in our community.
Above all, let us remember that "the union" is not a separate entity in control of the teachers. (They are too intelligent to allow that to happen.)
The union is composed of two representatives from each school in the district. They meet on a regular basis to discuss current issues and student welfare.
The results of those meetings are taken to regular meetings of administrators and school board members, which provide the necessary balance in determining what is best for the students.
Guess what, folks? This is called the democratic process. Congratulations to one and all who worked to see this happen.
Re "Orange Unified Vote Recalls June Battle," Nov. 1:
In his comments to the press, defeated school board candidate Martin Jacobson demonstrated why he was removed from office by the voters and why we did not want him back on our board.
He said the Orange Unified Teachers Assn. is "about more money for less work, and we should kick them out of our community."
To those of us who attend school board meetings on a regular basis, that contempt for our teaching staff on the part of Jacobson and his allies has been painfully obvious for years. It is no wonder that the board's relationship with the teachers was filled with rancor and turmoil.
According to state law, teachers have a legal right to organize for collective bargaining. Jacobson's determination to destroy this association led him and his extremist allies to bring this district to the brink of disaster. He drove away hundreds of our teachers and put our children's education in jeopardy.
As a parent in this district, I have had enough. I want a school board that will work cooperatively with all our employees. That's why I voted for Melissa Smith, Kathy Moffat, Kimberlee Nichols and Rick Ledesma.
Most of the union leadership of the Orange County Unified Education Assn. live outside the district and have little to lose if taxes go up for Orange Unified taxpayers.
Union bosses used compulsory union dues for their ultimate weapon, a recall. Then they socked taxpayers with a $117,000 bill for that special recall election in June instead of waiting four months for the regular November election. They can go back to their endless supply of forced union dues for campaign money while other candidates depend on voluntary contributions.
Union bosses pursue their own agendas, even if it takes a misused recall instead of the normal election process. I did not vote for union-backed candidates.
Many thanks to The Times for including parents with those who oppose the old ultraconservative Orange school board, rather than portraying it as just a board-vs.-union battle. My husband and I are among the hundreds of parents working to change our school board for the better.
Parents are appalled and saddened by the loss of hundreds of our teachers during the past several years, including many of our best and brightest. But we are also fed up with narrow-minded board members who talk about "parental control" but ignore the wishes of parents in the district.
A prime example is the issue of counselors for all grade levels. For years, parents--both as individuals and in groups such as PTA and the Legislative Coalition--have asked for reinstatement of the counseling program the board eliminated several years ago.
Recent examples of school violence made the need all the more urgent. However, the old board refused to consider the idea, going so far as to forbid members of the Legislative Coalition from lobbying for additional counselors during their trip to Sacramento earlier this year.
In November 2000, I voiced numerous concerns regarding Orange Unified to board members Martin Jacobson, Linda Davis, Kathy Ward and Terri Sargeant. My letter was written from the heart as a 28-year district employee discussing important educational issues, but I never received any response. I had to schedule a meeting with our superintendent before my concerns were heard.
This unresponsive action, coupled with not allowing me to speak until 11:15 p.m. at a prior board meeting, long after other adults (parents) were allowed to speak and go home, is just a glimpse of the lack of respect given to teachers in our district under these trustees' leadership.
The answer to the question of why conservative candidates raised $25,000 compared to the liberal candidates' $125,000 is the difference between voluntary contributions and forced union dues.