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The City-County Observer takes great pleasure in congratulating Local 215 Teamsters President Charles Whobrey and the EVSC bus drivers and secretaries on their resounding victory last night on their choice to remain “union proud” workers! Mr. Whobrey and his team led a masterful campaign on behalf of the EVSC support staff represented by the Teamsters under very difficult circumstances created by Dr. David Smith and his controlled School Board. It is clear that Dr. Smith dug deep into the bag of union-busting dirty tricks by calling a vote on extremely short notice, and his “rubber stamp” board approved his underhanded tactics unanimously. The vote to retain Teamster representation speaks to the character and determination of our school staff workers, and we commend them on their strength.
The fact that this vote took place is testimony to the fact that we need a new EVSC Board of Trustees. The board members had it in their hands to respect the support staff workers in our schools, and stop Dr. Smith’s call for a vote on whether or not to retain union representation for these vital parts of the EVSC team, but they did what they always do. They gave the Superintendent what he asked for, without one person out of the entire board dissenting. It appears that the every member of the Board believes what member Mike Duckworth said when he referred to working “for” the Superintendent, when in fact, the Superintendent works for the board. The school board works for the voters, not Dr. Smith, and they have to be reminded of that fact this November, with the election of three new members.
We are not advocating change just for the sake of change. We are advocating change for the sake of our children, their teachers, and school support staff. The current Board not only allowed Dr. Smith to deliver a “slap in the face” to these good people, they endorsed it. We believe the Board has become stagnant and is contributing to the failure of several of our Center City schools with its failure to lead. We have the opportunity to take the first steps toward electing new and innovative people to supervise our Superintendent in working toward a more respectful culture in our schools. Dr. Smith should be held accountable for the bad decision he made when making the ill-advised call, but no one on the board can do that, because they approved the bad decision unanimously. By electing people who represent the community as a whole, rather than just people with close ties to school administrators, we can send the message to the EVSC Administrators that we expect more of our schools than what we are now getting. We urge all of readers to vote for positive change for EVSC on November 4. We can’t let the stagnation continue if we want a better future for our City and County.