The vast majority of our teaching staff at Swanton are great. They love their job, they honestly do care for the kids in their classrooms, and they do their best on a regular basis.
I know there are a few bad apples - there are in any district - but by and large, we have good people.
So why is it that when contract time rolls around every couple of years, some of these same people suddenly lose their good sense? It's as if their OEA rep is able to to hypnotize them to swallow hook, line, and sinker, any and all drivel he can concoct. He becomes their Svengali - their own perfectly good grey matter is put on a shelf and they blindly do whatever he commands. It is downright bizarre!
And not only does the SEA negotiating team fall victim - they pass it onto the rank and file, who take all they are told at face value with no visible attempt at discernment whatsoever. All those years of working with school board members as parents and friends suddenly mean nothing because the OEA rep has declared it through the SEA negotiating team! (I hear the theme from "Twilight Zone" playing in the background . . . )
Here are just 2 examples:
- A teacher "unfriended" two students from Facebook because their dad serves on the F.A.C.T. Committee.
- Another member of the F.A.C.T. Committee had some teachers cancel their insurance coverages through his firm for the same reason - his participation with F.A.C.T.
They are bewitched.
I've Got A Secret
If it wasn't so lame, it would be laughable. I'm talking here about the flyer put out by the SEA that speaks about the "secret" committee that lurks in dark corners, beholden to no voter, who conjures up evil intent against the teachers of our district: the F.A.C.T. Committee! Quick - get out your garlic necklace!!
After all those many articles in the Bulldog Bulletin and discussions at regular school board meetings, the people who put out that flyer can call it a "secret committee" with a straight face??
Now maybe the flyer creator(s) don't bother reading the Bulldog Bulletin. It's possible. It's also possible the board meetings where F.A.C.T. Committee members were introduced and spoke were not attended by these flyer folks.
The F.A.C.T. Committee is made up of 5 business leaders of our community. Four live within the community and one has his business in the village. It was deliberately constructed to include NO school board member and NO teacher so as to avoid any undue influence from either side. It functions as an independent advisory committee to the school board on matters of financial concern. There is nothing "shadowy" about them and they make no decisions - decisions are the sole responsibility of the school board, who makes all of their decisions at public meetings (which you may listen to via podcast if you're unable to attend).
Any one of the F.A.C.T. Committee members would be glad to share with you about what they have talked about in their so-called "secret meetings" !! The current chairman of that committee is local resident Bill Pilliod. Give him a call! Set up a time to meet him for coffee uptown and bring a few friends along - he'd be happy to chat with you.
"Secret" committee indeed. How ridiculous.
What that screed about the F.A.C.T. Committee tells me is that the OEA rep is grasping at straws - but the more flyers he has the SEA do, the more desperate they sound and the more people are annoyed with them.
It's time that people ask questions instead of blindly accepting whatever nonsense is fed to them. Ask the school board - Ask the superintendent - Ask a member of the F.A.C.T. committee - and get to the bottom of the real story instead of filling your head with rhetoric cooked up by an OEA rep.