I would like to clarify some misinformation. I wrote a letter to the editor (April 18) regarding charter schools and the administration costs of the Columbia County school system. Superintent Charles Nagle replied (April 29) and stated that I should have stated that I am the president of the union for the school bus drivers. Nagle went on to talk about lawsuits that the board of education is dealing with and implied that it was the union behind the suits.
To clarify, I did not write the letter as president of the union. I wrote it as a taxpaying citizen of Columbia County. I take pride in our school system, and was confused by the lack of funds when we have such high administrative costs. I have the utmost respect for Nagle as our superintendent, and feel that he is doing an outstanding job with our school system with the budget cuts that he has to deal with. My complaint was more with the current board of education, who would lay off teachers and paraprofessionals in order to keep the current number of administrators. I can only imagine Nagle’s despair in having to let so many of his employees go.
In regard to the current lawsuits that the board of education is involved in, it has nothing to do with the union. It is my understanding that there are four individual suits against the county by four different former employees. I can assure you that the union does not have any legal connection to these suits.
It appears that the board of education learned nothing from a previous lawsuit where the board was informed that their current policies violated their employees’ constitutional right of due process. If the board would only listen to the employees prior to termination, then they might not find themselves in these costly lawsuits. As long as the current board feels they are entitled to violate the rights of county employees, then I am sure there will be more lawsuits.
The union exists only due to labor law violations that occurred in the past, before Nagle became superintendent. It is my goal that the union will be silent and will not be needed by any board of education employees in the future. Unfortunately, when labor laws are violated, a union is always present.
(Sissy Hobbs is president of Transportation Workers Union Local 279.)