Last month, Mr. Soni Lloyd, UTLA Chair and government teacher, filed a grievance against Principal Gabriel Griego in regards to determining the role of a new teaching position at the school.
Recently, Venice High began the hiring process for three new teachers at the school, as a result of the increased enrollment and lower class-size caps won in the teachers’ strike earlier this year. According to Mr. Lloyd, Mr. Griego wants to convert one of these teaching positions to a coordinator, responsible for testing and data analysis..
Mr. Lloyd said that the principal believes he is solely able to make this decision regarding the position.
“As chair, it is my position that faculty be allowed to vote on this,” said Mr. Lloyd. “My position is backed up by language in the contract.” He said that the principal’s position is that since the new position will be working two half-time coordinator positions, “it is the principal’s discretion. I also surveyed the faculty and the majority want a classroom teacher.”
The contract that Mr. Lloyd is referring to is Article IX-A of the UTLA Bargaining Proposal, which states that “With respect to regularly-funded coach, coordinator, or dean positions, determination of whether there shall be such a position shall be made by a majority of the votes cast by bargaining unit members (teachers), at the school location, in an election limited to that purpose.”
Mr. Griego refused to comment on the issue.
Several teachers have expressed concern about the apparent lack of transparency around Mr. Griego’s decision.
“I think the need is for us to work together,” said Dr. Angela Fajardo, a Spanish teacher. “We need this… common understanding, of what we need for our school and what we need for our students. The academic needs of students are in the classroom. We have class sizes that are very high in some courses, and we need a teacher.”
“I believe there should be transparency in whatever administration and teachers do,” said Mr. Brent Rojo, an engineering teacher. “I think the number one priority should be to get more teachers.”
Some students have also expressed the opinion that they would rather have another teacher than a coordinator, in order to reduce class sizes.
“The largest class size I have right now is 40 kids,” said student Carmen Martinez. “When there’s larger class sizes, the teacher sometimes doesn’t have enough time to take care of the whole class and continue the lecture at the same time. I would rather the school hire another teacher than a new coordinator, because I want my class sizes to decrease.”