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Monday, November 5, 2018

Letter to the Tattler: Ken Bukowski

Teachers Union Snubs Ken Bukowski and Their Own Democratic Process
As Emeryville's election period begins, the Emery Teachers Association president, Ericka Castillo has drawn fire from community members.  When she recently announced her union had used a democratic process in the selection for their School Board candidate endorsements, it was learned one candidate had been snubbed; Ken Bukowski.  Mr Bukowski is now rightly asking how can the teachers union know not to vote for him if they didn't even hear his ideas for the District.  The snubbing of Mr Bukowski and the democratic process represents an unfortunate soiling of the ETA's reputation as well as a disservice to Emeryville voters.  
Mr Bukowski reached out to the Tattler to help the community hear his ideas for our schools the Emery Teachers Association isn't interested in hearing.
Here is School Board candidate Ken Bukowski's letter-  

Regarding the recent School Board endorsements, I would like to say the president of the Emery Teachers Association (the teachers union) is misguided about the election process.  Of course, the ETA has the right to endorse whomever they wish and I was not endorsed this time.  However, I take issue with a recent misleading statement about the School Board endorsements made by the president of the ETA,  Ericka Castillo.  She told the E’ville Eye blog her union’s candidate vetting process was fair; "the process was extensive and democratic” she said.
Her comment is an insult.  This misleading response makes you believe all the candidates were "extensively" considered, and apparently those not chosen were rejected.  What she’s not admitting though is the ETA did not reach out to all the candidates for School Board.
We were not asked to complete a questionnaire and not every candidate was interviewed.  This in mind, I have to ask, what information was provided to the teachers to make the their ranked choice decisions?
This highlights the ongoing problems the District has had with a lack of transparency.

I'm running for the School Board because I'm concerned about the kids.  I've seen this District go bankrupt twice.  And now, we are on the same road again.
The first time the state ordered the District to sell the Middle School, but (we) the City refused to re-zone the property to accommodate the buyer.  Instead the school was leased and that money helped turn the District around.
The second time it went bankrupt is when the District decided to operate three schools again.  The City ultimately ended up bailing out the District.  The City recognized the District could not afford to operate three schools so we combined all the children in one building so the City could help share the costs.
The resultant ECCL was thus planned to help make the District solvent. However, at the last minute, the full $95 million bond issued to pay for the ECCL could not be sold in the bad market of the Great Recession.  The project was consequently scaled back to reflect the new fiscal realities.  But the necessary elements for the District to be solvent, formerly elucidated by a chaste School Board were simply eliminated.
As you can see, we have a big problem.

The Emery School District is top heavy with administration.  The cost of operating a separate district takes away funds which could be used for the kids education.  But there is a real opportunity for the District to develop teacher housing on the surplus sites (the former elementary and middle schools) thanks to a bill by Assemblyman Tony Thurmond created for this purpose.  I talked with Tony about it for Emery and he said he would love to see his bill help leverage State money to supply teacher housing here.
Having teachers in the community full time would be a great advantage.

It's important for me to put these ideas on the table and I think it sets a bad example when you don't have a fair process from the ETA.
I’m running for the Board to help the district avoid bankruptcy for a third time.  Misleading information put out from those who are supposed to help is not appropriate.  I  sincerely hope the ETA can have a fair endorsement process in the future and show appreciation for every candidate.

-Ken Bukowski
Candidate for Emery School Board

1 comment:

  1. I can't think of a better guy to snub than Ken Bukowski.