By Ben Velderman
FALLSINGTON, Pa. – The Pennsbury Education Association might be a destructive little teachers union, if it weren’t so inept.
PEA leaders had an elaborate plan to replace school board members who are critical of the union, but their lawyer bungled it by “inadvertently releasing” private documents.
To make sense of this, a little background is in order.
Population growth is forcing Pennsylvania’s Pennsbury school district to make some changes as to how its school board members are elected. The district needs to ensure that board members represent the same approximate number of citizens, in keeping with that time-honored American principle of “one man, one vote.”
The current Pennsbury school board – containing both Republicans and Democrats – recently voted to keep the current electoral system, but with a few minor tweaks.
The current system – which has been in place for more than 40 years – divides the school district into three regions, and allows three school board members to be elected from each region. Board members want to shuffle a few precincts around, in order to balance the population between the three regions.
However, a “citizen’s” group – led by former Pennsbury Education Association President John McDonnell – wants to replace the current system with nine mini-regions, which would each elect their own board member. They claim a nine-region system would be the most fair for taxpayers.
Both the school board and the citizen’s group filed their plans with a local court –as required by state law – and a judge will decide between the proposed solutions.
Who cares, right?
Here’s what makes this story interesting. The attorney representing the citizen’s (union) group made a colossal blunder when he filed the petition with the court.
He inadvertently included a CD containing private correspondence from McDonnell explaining that the real purpose of the nine-region plan is to prevent school board member and union critic Simon Campbell from running for re-election.
In one letter, McDonnell writes that the nine-region proposal “provides the opportunity to cut off the head of the snake by denying Campbell a seat to run for. Why not go for the kill?”
Under the union-favored plan, Campbell would be placed in a region with two likeminded school board members. Only one of the three could elected, which would be a major coup for the PEA.
Clearly, the Pennsbury union wants to get rid of Campbell, who manages the anti-union website StopTeacherStrikes.org, and any other board member who dares to oppose the PEA’s self-serving agenda.
The district and the union are in the middle of contentious contract talks, and the PEA would love to remove Zawacki and Campbell from the bargaining table. A nine-region plan would make it far easier for the union to recruit and elect enough candidates to control the local school board.
Campbell responded to the union’s stunt in a YouTube message.
“The last two election cycles have not gone well for the union. The teachers union candidates have been beaten,” Campbell says.
“Their desire is to get rid of duly elected officials in the courtroom because they cannot get rid of those elected officials at the ballot box, in a free and open election. …. Their desire is to put their own people in place on the school board to negotiate for employment contracts that are not in the best interests of taxpayers.”
Thankfully, the union is an inept as it is dishonest. The “inadvertent release” of the PEA’s private letters is giving taxpayers a look at the slimy tactics union leaders are willing to use in order to secure a teachers contract that puts their private financial interests ahead of the taxpayers and Pennsbury’s students.
The judge will decide between the two proposals on August 17, reports PhillyBurbs.com.