Letters to the Editor
July 26, 2019

To the Editor:
I want to write a short letter complimenting Ms. Cindy Jackson from Ocean Gold CBD for providing us with a CBD infusion for our dog McDuff. He is almost 13, and suffers from arthritis in his rear leg, which has slowed him down on walks and causes him to be depressed around the house. I spoke to our groomer, Andrea, and she suggested writing to Cindy, who carries a line of CBD infusions, the infusions have apparently helped with other dogs and horses, and I thought a low dose mixed with McDuff’s dinner might be worthwhile trying to see if it helps with arthritic pain. I checked with our Vet and she also thought it was worth a try and might be better than prescription medications with side effects.
After just a week, McDuff is again playing with his toys, and is walking more normally without the pronounced limp from the pain. He still has a limp when running, but his attitude is more curious, alert and positive. We see a definite improvement and feel happy to find a product that improves McDuff’s day.
Dave Levy,


To the Editor:
My name is Kelley Hess and I am a 14 year veteran in education and have been privileged to serve Fillmore’s students as a special education teacher for the last 6 years. Next to raising my own 3 children, advocating and facilitating learning for students with disabilities is the honor of my life. Similarly, I also serve as a member of the Fillmore Unified Teacher’s Association bargaining team.
My work as a special educator offers a unique parallel to the current impasse situation between FUTA and FUSD. It goes without saying that all educators work in collaboration and coordination with grade and subject matter colleagues for the benefit of students; but as a special educator, this is imperative. It is my responsibility to provide students with access to the general education curriculum in a manner that works for their varied individualized needs. Collaboration with general education teachers to modify and adjust content for student learning needs, consultation and coordination of services and learning goals with occupational therapists, behaviorists, speech pathologists, parents, and students all serve to benefit growth and progress over the long term and not something I am able to do with success in isolation. These collaborative processes are proof positive that when the cogs of collaboration work in sync across all areas, the results are remarkable and something I truly take pride in being a part of. Collaboration works well in my corner of education, but I am not convinced it is working in our current bargaining situation.
Let’s explore what it looks like to collaborate a little more closely. By definition, according to Merriam Webster, collaborate means “to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor.” Collectively, as a school board, as administrators, as educators, and as a community our goal must be to work jointly for the intellectual endeavor that is the success of the students of Fillmore Unified. Part of that intellectual endeavor means that in order to accomplish our goals, the mission that is Fillmore Unified, we must respect our professionals enough to keep and retain their talents here.
FUTA was prepared to collaborate and bargain as early as November of this recent school year when we sunshined our openers on October 2, but Fillmore Unified’s team failed to do so until late January, despite our requests to get started before then. Through the course of 8 negotiation sessions this year, rather than work jointly with FUTA to reach a middle ground that respects and values the efforts of all its professionals, our trustees and our district administration, on four separate occasions, offered FUTA the same 2.5% salary increase and hard cap on health benefits. FUSD possessed full knowledge that an unforeseen reduction in benefits beyond the district’s control resulted in a near $1 million dollars of on-going savings for the district and failed return that savings to FUTA members.
FUTA’s proposal for a 5% on schedule increase and status quo on health benefits pending the recommendations of the benefits committee is not unreasonable. It serves to fill the gap that FUTA members experienced with the dramatic change in costs and is respectful of the process of the current committee. Our trustees and our administration failed to provide another way for FUTA members to recoup what was lost because they have not been willing to collaborate with us to reach an agreement and jointly solve this problem. The FUTA bargaining team spent 8 instructional days away from students who need our talents only to be offered the same thing over and over again. Einstein had a name for that particular behavior, but still the FUTA team came to the table to address the district’s and school boards continued requests for collaboration for the benefit of students with good faith and our own well being at stake.
FUTA members are forever invested in the success of students, but we cannot continue to be committed to trustees and administration that fail to work with us. As employees of Fillmore Unified, we are directly connected to our trustees, administration, and community and we maintain a desire to cooperate for the direct benefit of Fillmore students. But that cooperation, and that collaboration must work both ways. Collaboration is not a one sided endeavor. Fillmore educators demand what is fair and equal for the benefit Fillmore’s future, our students, and we stand ready to work with both our trustees and the district’s team. When will they decide to collaborate and work with us too?
Kelley Hess,
Fillmore Middle School Teacher, FUTA member.