On March 10, nearly 250 teachers and staff who serve the county’s most troubled students gathered for a town hall meeting inside a movie theater at the Mission Valley Hazard Center. They were prepared to air their workplace grievances and get answers, but what came to pass instead was a party.
Employees of the San Diego County Office of Education in attendance all received $100 vouchers for use at the nearby Barnes & Noble or Lakeshore Learning stores. The catch: The money had to be spent on the spot, that same day, before 8 p.m.
Several teachers who were present said they were told they could stay for the planned question and answer session or “vote with your feet,” take the vouchers and go shopping. The vouchers could be used for items that support employee or student learning.
The offer caused an exodus. Nearly everyone left the gathering and filled the aisles of the two bookstores.
Receipts produced by the County Office of Education in response to a public records request show some picked up classroom items, like hall passes, chalkboard erasers and English-learner flashcards. Others picked out items likely for their personal use, like a Bible and an atheism book, and even erotic literature.
Chocolate bars and Christian texts were later flagged as impermissible by staff and employee reimbursement was sought, according to the receipts and other documents. Reimbursement was not sought for the erotic literature.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
I feel you are missing the point: The administration wanted to clear out the people that might want to ask "uncomfortable" questions and put the administration on the spot. How better to do that than to give each employee $250 that had to be immediately spent or loose it? It reminded me of one local large company that was happening their annual shareholders meeting, where shareholders are allowed to ask questions of company management. Anticipating uncomfortable confrontational questions from employees, many of which were also stockholders through an employee stock purchase plan, the word was put out that employees were not allowed at the meeting. Of course, management cited space concerns, but the employees knew.
I want a deal like Randy Ward got, indefinite paid leave! Ran into Randy on a 3/4 day fishing trip a couple days ago. Nice guy. He explained that he's probably going to have to leave his position but expects to negotiate a great severance package, maybe 200-300 grand plus full retirement benefits.
Meanwhile, he really likes fishing, they're biting great, and he's scheduled on a 10 day trip next week. He's really chilling out. "Best vacation I ever had. I highly recommend it" were his words as clear as I can recollect.
Yeah, this is a gag, but how much would you like to wager it won't happen?
@Bill Bradshaw Nice one! :)
How many of us ever received a coupon, gift certificate or voucher >> for anything << that expired a couple hours later.
Be bold VOSD, call it what it is... given the context of the meeting purpose, the distribution and the disruption. It's quite simple really.
School districts across the nation give money for supplies to teachers in the form of vouchers. Heck, the average teacher spends nearly $500 of their own money to help teach someone else's kids better. So, when handed about a 20% boost to that budget, you bet they're going to run for the doors.
What's truly sad is this could have been a great time to learn of the collective issues of the district. Now we are really curious what's really going on, so much so that the district literally enticed teachers away from the meeting with money.
This is the district's money to distribute so I doubt that's anything criminal. What's at stake is a huge ethical question. Why were teachers lured away? Who does that reason affect? What deficiencies were they going to illustrate? Where is the union in all this? What do the parents think? What do the students think? I'm betting the answer will sound a lot like crickets.
p.s. this message was made possible because of a great education by public school teachers. Questioning authority stems in part from a 7th grade teacher who rattled all our little minds and asked 'Just because they told you they sent a man to the moon why do you believe them?' and as a result of teachers in a handful of schools caring enough to use their own resources to be sure I got a better education. Thank you all.
Hush money . . . people who embezzle money always find ways to ensure they have accomplices.Spread the loot to help cover up what they are doing. Shame that those educators were bought so cheaply. I used to be a JCCS teacher and had some mind-boggling experiences.