|Updated: 10/17/2012 10:38 pm
||Published: 10/17/2012 2:33 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Pulaski County Special School District teachers union votes no confidence in the district's leadership.
PACT, or Pulaski Association of Classroom Teachers, authorized the acting union president to call for a job action that could include a strike.
PACT says the no confidence vote stems from the district and the state no longer recognizing the union. The lack of recognition and bargaining rights, as well as working conditions, is what PACT says has members looking at options including striking.
Brenda Robinson, the PACT acting president says teachers are not getting the recognition they want or deserve. PACT members are considering what options are available to get the district and the state's attention. "We're tired of being mistreated. Everything is falling on the backs of teachers."
PCSSD Superintendent Dr. Jerry Guess says with the Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell guiding, this school year is going exactly as planned. "We're having a great start to school. Our enrollment is up about 420 students over last year. We produced a balanced budget and we're proposing to grow it by half a million dollars."
PACT disagrees. "The superintendent makes it seem like everything is hunky dorie and everything is going fine. Yes enrollment is up, and yes teachers are in the buildings."
Robinson says the conditions are not what they should be for teachers or students, and
striking is a way for the teachers to draw attention to their concerns.
Dr. Guess says he's disappointed PACT members feel that way. "It concerns me that PACT leadership and a small number of PACT members would embark on a campaign to dampen the enthusiasm and support of the parents in this district."
Robinson says there is no set time or date for a call for a job action or strike. Dr. Guess expects the support staff union, PASS, whose members meet next week, will support whatever PACT does.
PCSSD is holding its annual report to the public meeting Thursday at the school district headquarters at 6 o'clock.
Statement from Brenda Robinson, acting PACT President:
We are united in our resolve. The court system is slow. We filed lawsuits starting in May and yet we have no court date set and no resolution. Our issues are many: the lack of time to prepare for our classes, the health and safety of our students; the extensive non-instructional duties, the politics that negatively impact our ability to teach and the administration’s blatant refusal to follow the laws that protect our students and teachers. We have been patient, but our patience is wearing thin.