The McEA bargaining team believes:
It’s clear that the District is hoping to pressure the McEA team to give up all safety language and “roll” the majority of the contract. That way, they will continue to be able to run our schools with the “business as usual” top-down approach, instead of being held accountable for improved safety conditions and student support procedures. For our students and educators, we will stand strong.
Mediation is a typical step in the process when the parties cannot reach agreement on their own. Even with this turn of events, the McEA team is approaching mediation with a spirit of collaboration. Just as we teach our students to approach difficult situations with a positive attitude, we will do the same. We hope the district team joins us with a more open mind in this opportunity for change.
It’s more imperative than ever that we come together as ONE TEAM to find a resolution that benefits everyone’s interests. A fair contract and signed MOU can be the first step towards healing and rebuilding the trust that is necessary to move forward collaboratively.
Please follow this LINK to view the latest bargaining information as well as both McEA and MSD proposals.
Distance learning is HARD--especially on younger students. McMinnville educators have a solution:
If this is something you could support, please take a moment to view the highlights of the new McEA SIMPLE schedule for our elementary students. And then click HERE to let Superintendent Russell and the MSD School Board know you support a simpler schedule too!
MCMINNVILLE EDUCATORS ARE WORRIED.
McMinnville professional educators have spent countless hours this summer, trying to get the District to collaborate on what our students, communities, and families need for back-to-school safety and learning. The District has repeatedly ignored our suggestions and we are fearful of what this means for McMinnville students and educators.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Contact Superintendent Maryalice Russell and School Board Chair Larry Vollmer
Urge them to sign the McEA proposed back-to-school Memo of Understanding (MOU).
Let them know that YOU support safe, quality learning conditions for students and educators.
Russell Phone: 503.565.4001 • Email: Mrussell@msd.k12.or.us
Vollmer Phone: 503.830.6663 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In regards to the back-to-school memorandum of understanding (MOU) on comprehensive distance learning that the Association and the District have been negotiating for the last several weeks...
Your Association leadership has been working tirelessly to get this MOU signed before students return to distance learning. The proposed elements include safety measures for those educators, students, and families who will be on campus for limited learning opportunities. It also includes elements to address the time needed for educators to collaborate with their grade level/departmental teams and to prepare quality curriculum for this new distance learning experience. The McEA proposed agreement would provide educators the flexibility they need to adjust their schedules to meet the specific needs of their students and families, as well as their own family obligations.
The District does not seem to understand the unique situation we are in. We are in the middle of a global pandemic, and the District seems to think it’s “business as usual.” After ten hours of MOU meetings in the last 2 weeks, the District and the Association have not yet reached agreement on the components of the MOU and seem to be no closer to doing so.
We were originally scheduled to have one more meeting on Monday, August 31st at 5:00pm. It was cancelled by the District, and they claim that the soonest they can meet again will be Friday, September 4th. We have urged them to reconsider and meet earlier but at this point, it seems that may be our date. We will post the link when we have it. We encourage you to watch.
To read the latest proposals, click HERE.
On Wednesday afternoon, the District and Association agreed to meet to discuss the terms of an agreement that will define safety and learning conditions for fall. Although the Association expected the Superintendent to be present during this conversation, the District was represented by Steffanie Frost and Student Services Director Kevin Carroll. Representing McEA was Interim President Adam Gray, Marc Dana, Erik Svec, and McEA union consultant Rebecca Konefal.
We discussed several issues including increased safety precautions, the educational structures that will allow educators, students, and parents to establish daily school routines while still considering home situations, the criteria for re-opening in-person learning, and the necessary supplies and supports for educators, students, and families to successfully navigate comprehensive distance learning.
Click HERE for our full proposal. We will meet with the District again on Tuesday, August 18th.
LETTER FROM MCEA DELIVERED TO THE MSD BOARD:
Good evening Dr. Russell, Melanie, School Board, staff and community members,
I would like to formally introduce myself to the McMinnville School Board. Many of you know me, but for those who don’t, I am Adam Gray, and I am acting as the Interim McMinnville Education Association President. I would like to address a few concerns that the McEA has in order to bring them to the attention of the School board.
Before I get into my prepared statement, I just want to elucidate a bit more about the process of collaboration between the Association and District when it came to crafting blueprints. The idea to hold building level meetings to start crafting the ideas for the blueprints came from McEA. Our leaders brought the idea forward to the District in a liaison meeting once we knew it was a fall requirement. We even had the list of members ready to sit on those committees once the District agreed to form them and allow them to work. When the District dropped the collaborative process after the initial meetings, it was the Association that brought the issue back front and center and insisted on the collaborative planning resuming. I’d like to add that these members were unpaid for their hours of work during their brief summer break.
This brings me to my first concern tonight: communication. In my last letter to the Board, the Association expressed concern that we have received member and parent feedback regarding a desire for better communication between the District and its stakeholders and we have not seen improvement in this area yet. The Association has broached this topic several times with District administration. We have reiterated that we are committed to improving communication from our end--serving on District and building level committees, regularly requesting labor/management conversations on important topics as we approach fall and still we have been disappointed in the lack of reciprocity from the District.
As I mentioned earlier, for the last two months, McEA has been advocating for the District to include them in developing plans for the coming school year. The District has included some McEA participation on various committees; however these committees were not meeting regularly and we have found that a vast majority of the planning was being done behind closed doors without stakeholder input. Professional educators are best suited to understand the needed conditions and practices in our schools in order to establish an atmosphere which promotes safety--while also engages students in robust educational experiences. We are concerned that the reality of this situation is not being accurately portrayed to you tonight by the District and the administration.
A “business as usual” approach to planning by denying input from professional educators in the design and implementation of a novel form of education is irresponsible and potentially life threatening. We are bringing this to your attention because we believe that as a district, we can do better and we MUST do better.
Our second concern is in regards to District priorities and the recent series of messages delivered from the Superintendent to the Association. Time and again, Dr. Russell has shared that she is too busy or occupied to respond to Association communications and requests for meetings. Instead she is delegating those communications to HR director Steffanie Frost, who then has to wait for Russell’s response to communicate back to the Association. These are the typical obstacles that the Association is experiencing from the District. We are now involved in a frustrating and unnecessary game of telephone when it comes to communicating with the Superintendent over topics as important as the safety gear for students and educators and sanitizing procedures for our schools.
Time is running thin. We have three weeks until in-service begins. That means three weeks to plan for contingencies, negotiate contract exemptions, organize buildings, acquire supplies, assign and move staff to needed locations, train staff on new Covid-related procedures, create new distancing and hygiene training modules for students, just to name a few.
An immediate opportunity to show District commitment to working together would be through the development of a joint Covid-19 Rapid Response Team. This team would function with key stakeholders, including administration, Association representatives and community members to respond to unanticipated developments throughout the year. There has never been a time in our history where we have needed to be more collaborative in our efforts than there is now.
Educating our students requires the efforts of the School Board, Superintendent, staff, community and parents. We must all work together, not against each other. The Association has a motto of "One Team." Teamwork requires acknowledging the expertise of the team members, respecting the members, and trusting that the members of the team will do their best to work towards the expectations and needs of the group. The professional educators of McEA are ready to collaborate in order to provide the very best education possible for our students.
We have so much potential to do right in this situation. We can come together in shared leadership to find the safest and strongest way forward as a district. We hope you will take steps to join us so that McMinnville School District can become the MODEL of safe learning that Carson was asking about tonight.
Thank you very much for your time and I am prepared to answer any questions that you might have.
Interim McEA President
Please note that the School Board did not ask any questions.
McEA Statement--Black Lives Matter
We live in a historic time of resistance and change. As educators, we feel the weight of our civic responsibilities in this moment, along with our deep personal reactions. We all want to build a more just society. We all want safe spaces to thrive without fear, take care of our families and friends, have our voices heard and our rights respected.
The professional educators of the McMinnville Education Association pledge to unite in this time of action and lead by example for our students and communities. We encourage everyone to participate in this significant moment by engaging with one another--listening, learning, and sharing our experiences. We commit to creating safe spaces for our communities of color--students, families, and educators.
We call for our educational institutions to work to identify their own implicit biases and systemic racism. We commit to doing the work in McEA to make our union an inclusive organization. We stand in solidarity with our communities of color and encourage our members to join in peaceful and civil discourse during this important time.
Together we can eliminate oppression and uproot the manifestations of racial inequality and discrimination. Together we are better.
McMinnville Education Association--ONE TEAM