The following letter was submitted by parents to Patch after ACE Classified Union President Debbie Hamme issued a ‘demand to bargain’ letter to CCUSD Superintendent Patricia Jaffe on Friday. The union’s latest move will be discussed at Tuesday night’s School Board meeting.
ACE Classified Union President Debbie Hamme threatened legal action against the District in 2011 that resulted in the District taking control of the year-old booster program away from parents. Those parent-funded employees became District employees and members of Ms. Hamme’s union. She issued a “demand to bargain” letter to the District on Friday over the fate of the adjunct program at that has been successfully run by a model parent-district partnership for 25 years.
Ms. Hamme's recent defense of her actions (in a Feb 17 letter to a Culver City newspaper) was full of errors that have served to escalate the conflict between her and parents in the District. She claims that it is the parents seeking to defend their rights that is upsetting parents. She and her defender on the school board --Karlo Silbiger -- continue to deny that it was her threat of legal action (and now her meritless “demand to bargain” letter) that are the sole problems here.
The most upsetting element of her letter, however, was her attempt to divide parents from different schools by labeling some of us ‘haves’ and others ‘have-nots.’ She may find such divide-and-conquer tactics work in her union, but not when it comes to dealing with parents and their children.
Ms. Hamme claims El Marino has 20 adjunct positions and 's immersion program has zero. However, La Ballona parents have raised money for adjuncts or other assistants but had problems getting the District to accept funding for those positions. This may have been due to a lack of a written policy or because of Ms. Hamme’s threats to sue the District.
El Marino has 20 part-time positions of three hours or less per day. That equates to 7.5 full-time positions (not 20) for a program that serves over 750 children.
El Marino’s program is over six times the size of the immersion program at La Ballona. La Ballona is only in the third year of its excellent program and has 132 children in K-2 grades.
Immersion children at La Ballona have the assistance of instructional aides in 1/3 of their immersion grades (Kindergarten, but not yet 1st or 2nd grades).
The immersion model at La Ballona is not the same style of immersion as El Marino’s, but both models are proven and successful immersion education methodologies.
Ms. Hamme should stop trying to play parents against each other. Unlike Ms. Hamme, we parents hope that what is best for our children will guide the decisions taken by all school board members.
Ms. Hamme has never had a role in parent-funded programs such as the ALLEM adjunct program and she never will. Despite her claim that she just learned about the adjuncts, according to state law Ms. Hamme lost her legal right to object to the program six months after the El Marino program was established in the 1990’s (Government Code section 3514.5(a)(1)).
Ms. Hamme further implied that the El Marino program violates federal law. The law she cites applies to District employees, not volunteers or employees of non-profits that are provided to the district at no cost to the taxpayer.
Ms. Hamme has yet to articulate any reasons why our children would benefit from having the adjuncts be members of her union instead of being part of the parent nonprofit that has run it for 25 years.
Ms. Hamme’s campaign against parent rights will single-handedly prevent our District from recruiting strong candidates to
As she escalates her campaign against parent-funded programs, Ms. Hamme is guaranteeing the presence of 100+ angry parents at upcoming school board meetings. We hope she will come to one of these meetings to hear the parents. Not having any representative from her union explain him or herself at the last school board meeting was disrespectful to parents.
Parents from four different CCUSD schools:
Diana Aceves, Tammy Bersing, Anne Burke, Dan Gilliman, Jenny Manriquez, Bill Katz, Scott Kecken, Tori Kitagawa and Heather Moses
Editor’s note: Letters may be edited for clarity and brevity.