BANNING – On Wednesday, Banning Teachers Association (BTA) will strike over an ongoing Unfair Labor Practice issue that extended the workday by one hour for all Banning middle school teachers. The strike is set for August 8, the first day of the 2018-2019 Banning Unified School District (BUSD) school year.
Student success is at the heart of Banning educator action. In a general membership meeting held last Friday, BTA members asked themselves, “How can we keep putting our students first when our superintendent keeps putting educators and students last?” According to BTA President Anthony Garcia, “A middle school schedule that does not include a student nutrition break for nearly five and a half hours was not designed by educators.”
BTA members, angry with the disrespectful and dismissive attitude of BUSD officials, decided a strike was the best way to bring an immediate end to the unilateral extension of the workday at Nicolet Middle School.
Garcia explained, “For two years, BTA has attempted to work collaboratively with Superintendent Robert Guillen on decisions affecting teachers, students, and our community. Unfortunately, our professional voice has been continuously ignored by the Banning school board and the climate has turned toxic. How many times must we lose twenty percent of our educator workforce before we hold leaders accountable?”
The final insult to BTA leaders was the one-hour extension of the workday at Nicolet Middle School without information or consultation, in violation of the contract with BTA and current education code regarding good faith negotiations. In an email to Superintendent Guillen dated June 2, 2017, President Garcia put the blame squarely on Guillen;
“You have added an hour to the workday for all of the teachers at Nicolet… The fact that you expect a middle school kid to sit in an hour-long class like the high school shows your lack of basic educational knowledge.”
BTA expects respect, collaboration, and coordination with the district regarding all contractual issues.