Paso Robles teachers vote 'no confidence' in superintendent

ppemberton@thetribunenews.comFebruary 1, 2013 

Teachers hold signs declaring “Where’s the accountability?” and “Where did $1.59 million go?” during a Paso Robles school board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012.


Correction: An earlier version of this story should have said that classified staff has already voted on the confidence-no confidence issue. Also, the number of furlough days the Paso Robles school district wants to implement next year was initially misstated; it's nine furlough days, not 12.

Upset by the prospect of further furloughs, the Paso Robles teacher’s union has voted “no confidence” in Superintendent Kathleen McNamara, according to a union spokesperson.

With 77 percent of teachers voting, 97 percent voted “no confidence,” said Robert Skinner, a Paso Robles High School history teacher and union treasurer.

While the union doesn’t necessarily want McNamara to go, Skinner said, it does want more oversight.

“We want to see that someone is looking over her shoulder,” he said.

In an email to The Tribune, McNamara said she was reserving comment because she had not been notified of the union vote.

When the district dealt with a financial crisis that threatened to result in a state takeover, furlough days for all staff were instituted — 12 this school year and six last year. While the district has stabilized financially, it wants to resume nine furlough days next year so finances become more firm.

Now that the district’s reserves have been built up — and with the passing of Proposition 30, intended to raise funds for education — teachers believe it’s time to eliminate the furloughs.

“We bailed them out last year, and we’ve bailed them out this year,” Skinner said. “We do not want to see this district going bankrupt, but we’re not the cause of it.”

The district’s financial troubles were caused by cuts in state funding, decreased enrollment and a $1.4 million accounting error.

But now that its reserves are safely over the minimum required by the state, teachers want a return to a full school year.

Teachers plan to hold a news conference before Tuesday’s board meeting, which is a study session. On the union’s website, it calls for supporters to attend “to let the board know that our students should be allowed a full school year in 2013-2014.”

This year’s furlough days amounts to a 6 percent pay cut, Skinner said.

The classified staff has voted on the confidence-no confidence issue but has not yet released the results, according to Kathryn Nay, Paso Robles chapter president of the Classified School Employees Association.

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