Letters to the Editor

Levy: Union agrees levy is crucial

A Feb. 9 News-Times editorial advised the Public School Employees of Oak Harbor to sit down and shut up, lest we disrupt efforts to support the upcoming levy vote.

Editorial: The fact is, the March 8 levy is crucial.

PSE: We agree. The Public School Employees of Oak Harbor have publicly supported the levy. The Statewide Public School Employees have offered to financially support the levy efforts. We have invited Corey Johnson of Citizens for Better Schools to recruit volunteers at our upcoming meeting.

Editorial: There will still be plenty of time after March 8 for the union to make its case known to the public.

PSE: There has been plenty of time for the school district to make a reasonable offer to its employees. After 10 months of negotiations and seven months of working under the terms of an expired contract, it’s time for the school superintendent and the school board to do the right thing.

If the levy doesn’t pass, look to the Oak Harbor School District for the failure. The District’s has stubbornly refused to budge from its on-the-cheap, negative position on ANY item of consequence. We have tried conceding issue after issue with zero quid pro quo, zero results. We have tried mediation; a professional mediator sent by the State of Washington couldn’t get a response  from the district (unless the mindless repetition of “no” to everything is a response). Now we are demonstrating publicly because we have tried other ways for too long.

Perhaps the district should send home their obstructionist hired guns, and talk to their employees mano a mano. While they’re at it, they could be more forthcoming instead of misrepresenting our positions the issues. They could be more open about the tremendous disparities in how this school district treats its classified employees vs. how administrators treat themselves. Maybe they be more open about how this school district treats its classified employees vs. how other school districts treat their classified employees.

While we’re at it, the Whidbey News-Times could try getting the facts before publishing an editorial aimed at painting as bad guys, your schools’ hard-working custodians, clerks, warehouse workers, cooks, groundskeepers, para-educators, library technicians, interpreters, maintenance craftsworkers, secretaries, bookkeepers, security officers, computer technicians, bus drivers, mechanics, and professional staff.

Editorial: Until then, consider setting aside those “fair contract” and “respect” signs, and replace them with “support our schools” and “vote March 8” signs.

PSE: Consider it considered. We’re not going away and we’re not replacing our signs. However, anyone who supports the school levy is welcome to join us when we take our message to the public. If the OHSD administrators bring us signs, we will proudly carry “support our schools” signs and “vote March 8” signs along with ours - and the sign-bearers are welcome to stay. Coffee, cookies, and camaraderie are on us.

Carl Leonard

president, PSE of Oak Harbor

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