Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Board Rejects Bid by Parent Educators on Negotiating Unit

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Board Rejects Bid by Parent Educators on Negotiating Unit

Article excerpt

Fort Zumwalt parent educators will have to do more than say they want labor representation; they must vote their desire.

The School Board voted 5-2 against a request earlier this month from the parent educators to recognize the Fort Zumwalt Education Association as their negotiating unit. Board members said they would wait for results of a formal petitioning procedure before acknowledging the Education Association as a voice for parent educators.

Board members Doyle Stokes and Robert Fisher voted against waiting for results of the formal petitioning process. Fisher, a former teacher, said the board should voluntarily recognize the Education Association.

"We should do it now as a show of good faith," Fisher said.

The Education Association represents teachers. Parent educators work with the Early Childhood Education program and are certified as consultants for families. They do not have to hold teaching degrees, although some do.

Jayne Voss, board president, said she was concerned about parent educators being tied with a teachers' group and about teacher reaction to such a plan.

"The school district has the interest, needs and concerns of the teachers," Voss said. "Down the road, when this becomes a money issue, I don't want to be caught in the middle."

She told the parent educators to go ahead and petition the State Mediation Board for the Education Association representation.

Voss said parent educators also showed disrespect to the superintendent by petitioning the board when the superintendent had already said he would not recommend acceptance of their request. Voss questioned why the group petitioned the state and then came to the board.

"Why did you go to the state first instead of us?" Voss said. "Let's stop the politicking."

Board member Ron Entwistle said acknowledging labor representation without the parent educators going through the petitioning and voting process would place the School Board in "an awkward position. …

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