By Leila Currah
As a parent in the San Dieguito Union High School District, I support our teachers and our students, and I support Trustee Michael Allman.
In recent months, I have become deeply concerned by the actions taken by the San Dieguito Faculty Association (SDFA) — the local teachers union. The SDFA is bringing unnecessary and damaging conflict to our district with their attempt to recall Trustee Allman.
Worse, in their campaign to gather signatures to support a recall, the SDFA is promoting abject falsehoods to achieve their political objectives. I’ve outlined some of those specific falsehoods below. However, even deceit is not enough to gather the signatures they need.
Most recently, union leader Duncan Brown has convinced teachers to allow the SDFA to pay an outside company $60,000 to gather signatures for them. SDFA can’t win by telling the truth and they can’t win by lying, so now they are trying to buy Michael Allman’s board seat and then elect a union-backed representative to achieve union goals.
Over two weeks ago, I wrote a letter to the SDFA to directly express my concerns. My letter was respectful and straightforward, and I know with certainty that it was received. At the time, I gave them the benefit of the doubt and waited for a reply. However, instead of extending the courtesy of a response, they ignored me and then blocked me on their social media without any other cause. I had no interaction with them prior to my letter.
My letter to them outlined the following concerns:
On social media, the SDFA asserts that Trustee Allman has caused unnecessary district expense by terminating the prior superintendent Robert Haley and by causing additional legal expense to defend the district from lawsuits. These are abject falsehoods.
When the Board suggested and accepted the resignation of former superintendent Robert Haley, they were obliged to honor his employment contract, which included a one-year buyout clause approved by the prior Board. Removing Haley was a unanimous decision of the Board. Further, the teachers union boss stated during a public board meeting that the teachers voted 98% that they had “no confidence” in Superintendent Haley and wanted him removed. In a very real sense, it was the teachers who wanted to replace Haley.
The additional legal expenses borne by the district were in fact caused by the union. The SDFA and the California Teachers Association sued the school district because the unions did not want to open schools for in-person education, which led a group of parents to sue the district to allow them to send their kids to school.
Ultimately, the courts ruled that children have a fundamental right to an in-person education to the greatest extent possible. It was the refusal of the teachers to return to their classrooms, despite the existence of a county approved back-to-school safety plan, that caused this unnecessary legal expense.
In addition to the union’s misstatements, what they aren’t telling voters is that if they are successful in calling for a special recall election, they will cost the district another $500,000 on top of an existing $5 million budget deficit. This cost would come directly from funds meant for education and classroom activities, including teacher salaries. The SDFA’s actions will cause this expense if an election is called.
The real issue is that Trustee Allman is an independent board member, not a rubber stamp for the SDFA. The SDFA should admit to this simple truth and stop propagating lies. You teach our children. Please lead by example using truth and honesty.