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  • Mindy Walton

Rohrs Only Sign of Intelligence @ Chandler Teachers Union Debate

At the debate organized by the far left local teachers union, CEA, Charlotte Golla was unidentifiable as a Republican as she caved to every single union demand. Video in article.

On September 6, 2022, a 45 minute online forum organized by the local teachers union, the Chandler Education Association, CEA, featured the 5 candidates running for 2 seats on the Chandler Unified School District, CUSD80, school board:

  • Lara Bruner (incumbent)

  • Patti Serrano

  • Marilou Estes

  • Kurt Rohrs - R

  • Charlotte Golla - R

Below you can find the 5 questions asked by teachers union moderators, and gist of the answers given by the candidates. We have added the answers of an imaginary right wing dream candidate as well, think of Margaret Thatcher running for school board.

If elected, what would be your strategy for recruiting and retaining teachers, paraprofessionals and other staff?

Charlotte Golla: Teacher and support staff are leaving the profession because they are overworked and underpaid. So everything a teacher or para does outside of their role needs to be compensated additionally.

Marilou Estes: We need to come together and develop a plan to retain teachers. We need to find out why teachers and other staff leave the district. We also need a plan to recruit teachers. Use current staff to recruit new staff. We also need more money. Teachers and staff need to be paid more.

Lara Bruner: I'm a teacher in Tempe Union. We have to look at compensation, more money for teachers. I'm also proposing less workload, e.g. early release Wednesdays. And we need more subs so that teachers have less workload.

Patti Serrano: We need to open a dialogue with employees. Listen and understand. Invest in a formal (paid?) referral program to recruit teachers. Workers are overburdened. We need more money and support NOT tied to performance. We also need to raise salaries and I will work with the City of Chandler on affordable housing for teachers.

Kurt Rohrs: We need to understand clearly why people leave the district, rather than relying on hearsay. What I do hear is pay, of course. The district has done good job with 20 by 20 (raising pay by 20% from 2018 to 2020). But it's not always about money. Working conditions in classrooms are important. The central goal of a school is teachers in classrooms teaching children. The need for respect for teachers is very understandable. Administrations need to back up teachers with discipline. E.g. one kid disturbs class, what about the other 25 kids? We need to look at their rights as well. Overlooked resource is getting free parent volunteers back into the classroom. May need 3 or 4 adults in a class, rather than only 2.

Margaret Thatcher for CUSD80: Good teachers are being driven out of the profession (or out of public schools) by teachers unions and their woke agenda. The key to retaining good teachers is to get rid of CRT, DEI, SEL and to enforce discipline in the classroom to allow kids to learn and teachers to teach. Treat kids equally, rather than treating them unequally to force an equal outcome. Teachers will do better if pay is aligned with performance, not seniority. I have no problem with an outstanding teacher being paid well. I have a problem with seniority pay and collective bargaining that removes incentives for performance. The teachers unions control public schools, they are to blame for the problems that public schools have. Money is not the issue. The unions are. Get rid of the unions, and good teachers will come and stay.

The aggregate expenditure limit (AEL) in the Arizona constitution limits how much state can spend on education. Last year the legislator waited until the last moment to lift the cap. This year's budget approved is larger than the cap again. Do you commit to advocating at the state level to lift the spending cap this year? And what might that advocating look like?

Estes: We need to change the AZ state constitution by doing away with the aggregate spending cap. I have worked with legislators who want to override the cap. An exemption vote will need to occur again this year, I support this. But it'd be better to amend the constitution. I commit to advocating for this.

Bruner: I support removing the spending cap. Once removed, we can focus on other issues. For example, raise pay for teachers so they don't get paid only $0.68 for every $1 that people with similar degrees who are not teachers earn - equity gap. We have lobbyists from ASBA (Arizona School Boards Association) to push legislators and we have done some of this in CUSD80. We do all of this for the students of course. Bruner then gets a follow up question despite being over time. Bruner responds that Ms Pawlik is always willing to work with teachers unions.

Serrano: I'm fully committed to repealing the spending cap. Increase funding to better meet needs of public schools. Includes working with state officials. Also, I support collective action to support this repeal. I will attempt committee hearings in support of lifting the cap. I will help to organize others to do the same.

Rohrs: Why do we have an aggregate limit? It's a taxpayer protection measure. I'm not a union member, cannot just advocate only for union issues. Reform of the formulas for funding is better than lifting the cap. Unlock funds so they can be used in different places. Follow up question by moderator: Not committed to lifting the cap? Rohrs: I think it's better to press the legislator to change funding formulas, not change the aggregate limits.

Golla: The aggregate expenditure limit (AEL) is not a budget issue. The legislator approved the budget but the cap limits this, which doesn't make sense. Ideally this will be fixed on the ballot in 2024 by voters. Refers to Bruner who mentioned that some funds were excluded from the cap before, but are not anymore. As board member I will advocate to repeal the cap and will educate the community why lifting the AEL is necessary. If it's not lifted, then I will speak to the community about the importance to honor budgets.

Margaret Thatcher for CUSD80: No. Money is not the problem. The US spends more per student than virtually any other country. In Arizona public schools have a budget of around $15,000 per student per year. Many private schools manage with budgets of only 60% of that, with smaller classes, better test scores, better achievement. They key is not more money but less teachers union influence leading to waste, fraud, abuse, underperformance and an absolutely toxic and arrogant attitude of entitlement displayed by many unionized public school teachers. Respect is earned, not demanded.

Regarding the housing crisis. How can school boards mitigate this and do you commit to working with the teachers union to create affordable teacher housing?

Bruner: Yes.

Serrano: Yes, plus subsidies, loan programs for teachers and staff.

Rohrs: No. If we do it for teachers, then what about cops, nurses? District should not build housing. Slippery slope.

Golla: I'm always open to creative solutions. Yes to the district building housing for teachers.

Estes: Yes

Margaret Thatcher for CUSD80: Absolutely not. I don't want the government involved in housing, it is already doing too much, driving up prices via regulations, onerous permitting and money printing leading to inflation. If you want to live in an area, then get a job that pays enough to live there. Don't play politics to take the money from other people, via taxes. The average CUSD80 teacher makes $65,000 plus benefits. That's far more than the average Chandler resident. No, we don't need to lavish even more money on mediocre unionized teachers who walk out on kids when their demands aren't met. We need to get rid of underperformers and hire good teachers, even if they are not certified, even if they don't have an education degree and of course even if they're not union members.

As board member what programs would you promote to help ensure that students have mental health support they need.

Serrano: Listen to students, and more money.

Rohrs: These issues are cared for by the county and city. Utilize those resources instead of reinventing the wheel. CUSD80 has a health center. It also hands out free meals, many of which are thrown out by kids who get them. What's the cause of the mental health epidemic?Lots of speculation. If we want to solve this, then we need to have an understanding of why. Social issues we push on kids may be to blame. We need to do more to understand what the issues are.

Golla: The CUSD80 health center is good. We need more regional programs for the south of the district, offer a satellite center similar to the main health care center. Also offer services for parents. Like Patti, I advocate for a commission about mental health. Students want to be listened to by adults. They feel they are not being listened to. Need more free play for elementary students, they just had two years without play in large groups.

Estes: Long winding road and CUSD has yet to complete the journey to mental health support by trained professionals. $5 Million were recently put aside for mental health. 92 counsellors and 21 social workers work in the district now. I am not yet ready to promote specific programs. CUSD80 needs to support the LGBTQ community and parents of vulnerable children.

Bruner: I am a psychology teacher and sponsor of a mental health club in Tempe Union District. Use evidence based programs. I want to hear more from social workers to find out from them where mental health resources need to go.

Margaret Thatcher for CUSD80: The teachers unions lobbied the CDC to recommend school closures. As a result, every single public school in the US was closed during the Government Covid lockdowns. While public school teachers got full pay and even raises, kids weren't able to go to school. Once schools opened, teachers unions enforced mask and even vaccine mandates on kids, making them anxious and afraid. Now those same teachers unions want tax payers to pay for more union members, i.e. social workers and counsellors, to fix the problems that the teachers unions have created? No. The district already has more than 100 non-teaching counselling and social worker staff. It doesn't need more. It needs fewer. The fewer woke non-teaching staff telling white kids they are subhuman and that boys are toxic and should change sex to become girls, the better.

If elected do you commit to meeting with CEA union officials within a month after elections to continue to discuss these and other important issues.

All candidates: Yes.

Margaret Thatcher for CUSD80: No. I will be busy meeting with parents and students. I will be meeting with legislators to push for removing the right of public school teachers, who are government employees, to go on strike. I will also fiercely advocate for school choice and school vouchers, to give parents and students the resources they need to make their own school choice, rather than being forced to pay, via taxes, for a system they would prefer not to be bound into. I know what teachers unions want. More money. Less work. Less responsibility. Less performance. Less parental involvement. More indoctrination of innocent children in far left ideologies. I stand against all these and will be representing parents and students, and teachers who actually want to go to work and teach math, science, language, real art, accurate history and American civics. Finally, it's important for all of us to note that not one question asked here tonight by teachers union moderators was about education, and that teachers unions, via the SOS PAC, are currently working to kill a new Arizona school choice/voucher bill.

Video of the debate

Margaret Thatcher at the end of her time in office as Prime Minister of the UK

For background: As prime minister from 1979 to 1990, Thatcher crushed union power in the UK, setting the country up on the path to prosperity by freeing it from the stranglehold of the labor unions. Thatcher resisted pressure to replace the Pound Sterling with the Euro, preserving some UK independence from the EU. The country prospered tremendously during her 11 years of governance. Thatcher, who was trained at Oxford as a scientist, was a close ally of Ronald Reagan, whose actions contributed much to a revival in the US as well as the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, although his liberal amnesty policies directly led to a loss of political power for the Republican Party by creating millions of Democrat voters in a short period of time.

Thatcher was eventually removed from office by her own Conservative Party, mostly because of her combative and uncompromising style. In the UK the Prime Minister is elected by Parliament, not the people. Britain has been on a downhill slide ever since, led by weak men and women that Thatcher's good times had produced. It now has an energy crisis, 10% inflation and rising, a weak currency, mass immigration of mostly uneducated illegal immigrants who often immediately go on government assistance, a dreadful socialized healthcare system and hugely damaging strict Covid lockdowns and mask mandates while government ministers were partying maskless in Downing Street. All these things occur(ed) under the "conservative" leadership of David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson, as well as labor leaders Tony Blair and Gordon Brown before them.



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