At the regular meeting of the Board of Education on Wednesday, November 14, 2018, UFEA President Lindsey Dickinson addressed the Board during the public comments section of the meeting. Though the comments have been characterized by some media outlets differently than they were intended, the message was meaningful and was delivered on behalf of numerous members who have expressed frustration over the past several months. The comments were intended to publicly plead with the Board and Administration to be more timely and responsive as they work with us to move the District forward, and to address the needs of all stakeholders, including our members and the students we educate each day. The comments, as shared, are included below.
Board of Education,
I come before you today as the President of the Unit Five Education Association, representing nearly 1,000 educators in this district.
I’m here to share with you frustrations that are being felt across the district — by me, by the members I represent, and by too many other stakeholders.
These frustrations should not be news to you. We’ve been sharing them with you for at least the past year.
My members and I are expected to do our jobs with excellence every single day.
We are evaluated on a set of standards that require communication, creativity, and consistency.
We go above and beyond to make sure all details of our jobs are done with excellence.
We do that because it’s required and expected. But even more so, we do that because it’s what the students we serve deserve.
But we can’t do that job as effectively without support and similar effort from the district.
When our questions go unanswered, our requests go unfulfilled, and our concerns are met with no communication, follow through or solutions, it creates frustration and it keeps all of us from being as effective and excellent as we can be.
We’ve had numerous individuals contact the district office and not receive a response for several days — or even weeks. We’ve had educators schedule meetings with district level administration, only to have the administrator not show up to the meeting. We’ve been promised things would be accomplished or work would be completed within certain timelines, only to find out that it never was.
We demand better. We deserve better.
When agreements are made, we expect those to be carried out.
When promises are made, we expect those to be kept.
When confidentiality is agreed to or required, we expect that to be honored.
We know as well as anyone that education is hard work, work that often demands a lot of time.
We all have things that take our time and energy, or compete for our attention — including families and personal lives. But we all also pour ourselves into this work.
We care about our jobs, our schools, our curriculum, and most importantly our students.
We work hard. We put in long hours. We need and expect the same from our Administration.
We’ve communicated to you before that we think things work better when there is cooperation and collaboration. But that requires communication and consistency.
We’re going to keep providing unwavering support to the students we serve. We are pleading that you provide a similar level of support to the staff you employ.