By Mister Phillips
On Wednesday, August 26, 2020, the school board will consider Item F1: Accept Phase 2 Conditions for Reopening MOU with Bargaining Units. An MOU or memorandum of understanding is a legally binding contract.
Given the gravity of the MOU, I have asked Board President Stephanie Hernandez-Jarvis, Board Clerk Consuelo Lara, and Superintendent Matthew Duffy to move the MOU from an action item to a discussion item and to bring personnel from the county health department and county office of education to the board meeting to advise the board directly on the positive and negative consequences of the MOU.
I believe we must have robust discussions before the board approves an MOU. That means the community and board should have time to thoroughly review, discuss, and even change the MOU if necessary. For not only will the MOU have long-term effects on the health and safety of the community, it will also have long-term effects on the educational outcomes of approximately 30,000 schoolchildren.
The community and board cannot possibly have the necessary discussions in the 25 minutes that board leadership and the superintendent have allocated to discuss the MOU. In my opinion, the board needs to slow down. There is no rush. The board has already made it abundantly clear that students will not return to school physically until it is safe.
The board should take its time with an MOU and move forward under the direct guidance of the county health department and county office of education, with community input. That is the only way to keep the community safe AND provide a quality education for the nearly 30,000 children under our care and supervision. Click the link for the MOU here.
Mister Phillips is a longtime community advocate who currently serves as a member of the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Trustees.