The school year has been off to a steady start. With new leadership in our committee chair positions, bargaining team, and representative council, OGEA has provided access to trainings and leadership opportunities within the organization. Thank you to all sites for electing your site reps on time and meeting with your site leadership for your ten-minute meetings so that we can all stay in-touch with what we need to be successful. OGEA is an organization of us. We the members of OGEA must continue to participate in our collective actions if we want to see changes made in our district for the betterment of our students and staff.
Thank you to all sites for showing your solidarity by wearing your union colors, posting with #OGEAstrong, joining our new Facebook group and for attending OGSD board meetings. Now with bargaining concluded, it is time to review our Tentative Agreements and participate in the ratification vote to exercise your rights as a union member in our collective bargaining agreements.
While the Oak Grove School District faces significant financial challenges, we want our students and staff to be supported and heard. Our fight is not done with the conclusion of bargaining. We as OGEA will need to rally behind a parcel tax to bring needed funding from our community to support the programs and services our students deserve to be successful in school and community. These services and programs include our membership. Seeing that we have funding to bargain with in the budget to help recruit and retain quality staff in our classrooms and support programs is of highest priority. Other sources of revenue will be from the adjustment of Prop 13 through the Schools and Communities First initiative. For years, corporations throughout California have gone without paying their fare share in supporting community schools, city services, and health care providers. The passage of the Schools and Communities First Initiative in November 2020 would generate $11 Billion in funding for public institutions in the state. This equals $6.2 Million each year for just the Oak Grove School District. Should a parcel tax pass in March 2020, it would generate $3.4 Million each year. These two measures would bring in close to $10M for the district each year that would directly support students and staff. With the sale or long term lease of a surplus property, OGSD would be able to maintain a healthy reserve for OGEA to bargain with in future contracts to see our students have the best learning environments. Stay tuned and connected with your site reps about how you can help in getting signatures to put the Schools and Communities First Initiative on the ballot in Nov 2020 and how to support the parcel tax leading up to March 2020.
On a personal note, my wife Mindy and I are expecting our first born in January 2020. In anticipation of our new member, I will be taking paternity leave beginning in January and anticipate being out through February. I may take additional time off in the Spring when we know more. In my leave, Maripaz Berlin, Vice President, will be acting President. OGEA leadership have taken the steps necessary to ensure a smooth transition in leadership at that time. I thank you for all of your shared love and support for Mindy and I. I will be excited to share more when our new member arrives. In the meantime, we must continue to support each other through our tough times we are experiencing in the district and persist to see our school district thrive for our students and staff into the future. We are currently recruiting for our Political Action Committee and are looking for a robust team to help organize actions supporting the parcel tax this Winter and school board race next Fall.