Monday, December 22, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Nonprofit, union tangle over Fairfield music instruction

Mundy Elementary School after school programs

Mundy Elementary School's guitar teacher Mathew Foley helps a student learn his chords during the school program in Fairfield, Dec. 2012. (Conner Jay/Daily Republic)

By
From page A3 | January 31, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — A teachers union challenge to music instruction provided by a Vacaville nonprofit – after budget cutbacks ended music instruction in the Fairfield-Suisun School District – has meant rescheduling instruction and the loss of more than 100 students from the program, the nonprofit says.

Wanda Cook, artistic director for the Young Artists Conservatory of Music, said the prohibition on instruction during teacher prep times about 30 minutes before and after school came after a Green Valley Middle School teacher questioned the music lessons.

The Fairfield-Suisun Unified Teachers Association sent a cease-and-desist order in September to the school district, contending the instruction violated the teachers union contract.

A contract between the teachers association and the district, Cook said, prohibits on-campus instruction seen as replacing regular classes – or instruction offered during teacher preparation time. The nonprofit instruction is not offered during class time.

Music Matters, one of the programs the nonprofit conservatory provides, has had to cancel some instruction and reorganize other classes. Parents pay just under $7 an hour for the instruction by Music Matters. About 450 children were getting music instruction from the nonprofit, but that number has been reduced by more than 100, Cook said.

Similar instruction on art and robotics offered outside of classes, she said, hasn’t faced the same union challenge.

“We’re kind of confounded,” she said.

Laurel Salerno-White, president of the Fairfield-Suisun teachers association, said the union’s concerns only involve the time of Music Matters instruction.

“They just can’t operate during our working hours,” Salerno-White said. “They’re trying to intrude on our workday.”

“Would you like someone to come in and do your job when you’re not at work – but not pay you?” she asked.

Salerno-White said the union supports music instruction that all children’s families can afford.

She teaches chemistry and said if a private organization arrived to take over her job that, “I would really resent that.”

Salerno-White also said the teachers union provided $268,000 to help fund art, music and physical education instruction by Fairfield-Suisun teachers.

Nonprofit representative Cook said parents of children who receive music instruction by the nonprofit feel like pawns in a political war – and the instruction a victim of a turf battle by the teachers union. She said grants could pay for more Music Matters instruction but that the teachers union challenge complicates such grant funding.

Separate funding from Fairfield-Suisun School District will allow an hour a month of music education by teachers in the school district but that’s not adequate time for a music program, Cook said.

Music instruction by the nonprofit began in 2010 after Nelda Mundy Elementary School parents asked for such instruction. Additional sites were added to reach a total of nine schools in the district where Music Matters instructs children.

“It was wildly successful,” Cook said.

“We’re championing arts education for everyone,” Cook said. “It isn’t about taking jobs away.”

Dave Gaut, a trustee for the Fairfield-Suisun district, said of the Music Matters issue, “This is not a school board matter. It’s a teacher union matter.”

He noted the union contribution to help pay for art, music and P.E. instruction. The funds followed the statewide passage of Proposition 30 and Gaut said teachers could have decided to add the money to their paychecks but instead helped fund classes.

The school district is adding instruction after years of budget cuts by the state but can’t immediately restore all art, music and P.E. programs, Gaut said. Supporters of such instruction want more, he said.

“People don’t want to go slow,” he said. “I understand.”

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or rmccarthy@dailyrepublic.net.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 8 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • B. ThiemerJanuary 31, 2014 - 6:17 am

    "“Would you like someone to come in and do your job when you’re not at work – but not pay you?” she asked." That's how it typically works. If I am not at work, and someone else is doing the work, I don't get paid; they do.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Teach5thJanuary 31, 2014 - 7:01 am

    Once more the union shows that it's not about the best interests of the students. What a ridiculous shame that kids miss out on something that enhances their education and makes them happy. Why do parents put up with it?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • S KJanuary 31, 2014 - 7:13 am

    Why do parents put up with the school district not having a regular music program, that evolves in the pupils getting in the school orchestra, concert band, marching band, Rotc Band, etc. etc.??? Where the heck does the school district and parents think that future musicians will come from? IMO the music program is just as important as the math, science, and any other dept. And yes those teachers deserve to have their jobs AND BE PAID FOR IT. Against unions???? How has that worked out??? Just take a look at working conditions for many, many workers, low pay, no benefits, retirement, vacations, days off, sick pay,etc. etc. WalMart is a good example. OH there are 401Ks now you say for retirement. Don't think so, since so many PPL live from pay check to pay check, having no extra for a 401K. And if they do, the next BIG MARKET CORRECTION, down turn will wipe that out. And then there are the GREEDY cheap corporations, companies that stab their employees in the back, taking their medical away upon retiring. Enjoy working till you're in your 80s, those of you are are against unions, or till you drop, whatever comes first!!!!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Tani CymanskiJanuary 31, 2014 - 7:04 am

    That music teacher is an ass. Music Matters does not interfere with instruction time. It is 100% before school and 100% after school. I should know this because my son, who is a 7th grader at B. Gale Wilson, was in Music Matters in 5th and 6th grade at K I Jones. I am glad that Music Matters was there because my son was one of 2 students who actually had musical experience at the beginning of this school year. I know that the teachers complained a little bit when it first started, but Music Matters was totally accommodating by rearranging. Music Matters, at the time, was the only alternative to music since music was cut from the elementary schools about 4 years ago. If there is the money for music at the District level, then hire the music teachers back at the elementary level so that the regular classroom teachers can have a little break like they use to back when music was in the elementary schools. So just stop complaining about music.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • BaseballmomJanuary 31, 2014 - 7:07 am

    Ah yes..... The CHIIIIIIILDREN.....that's what the union cares about.... Btw, I have a bridge to sell you... It's in Brooklyn, the deed is in my closet....

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Stu DyntJanuary 31, 2014 - 8:13 am

    I've got news for some. The teacher's union is there to look out for the best interest of the teachers. That's what it is there for. Why don't you hold, you know... the school responsible for looking out for the best interests of the students? They could do just that by making decisions that both benefit the students and the teachers. -- Janitors, administration, capital projects, bus drivers, etc. also work for/in the school. They should all also give-up anything and everything if a decision made by the school will benefit the children somehow?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • mescJanuary 31, 2014 - 8:31 am

    Change the contract ASAP. Support the Children, not some whiny group of professional thugs. Music is important and an aid to learning other subjects. VOTE out anyone who supports the teacher's unions when they make unreasonable demands against our children. ATTEND MEETINGS. VOICE YOUR OPINION. VOTE YOUR OPINION.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Deborah MooreJanuary 31, 2014 - 10:08 am

    What is incredulous is that this challenge boils down to the music program only. Seems art and robotics continue on. Why is that? As for Salerno-White, no one is taking her job. School district negotiations, including pay negotiations for teachers, compelled cutting the music program. Once parents found some kind of resolution to bring music back to the students, the teachers denounced it. If this is "all about the children" and if taking away music programs harms the kids, then the union's response is hypocritical. In reality, the message is: If teachers don't get their way, then the children ought to go without. This is all about political leverage, and it is shameful.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Christmas comes early to San Marco Street park

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Travis squadron delivers Christmas gifts to East Tabor

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

How this chunky Wade met Chunky Wade

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
 
Lawyers off free legal advice in Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
 
Multiple car accident blocks I-80 in Vacaville

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Famous Creations’ toy drive and cupcake sale

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Last-minute shopping at Vacaville Premium Outlets

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Kitchen fire dislocates family for Christmas

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment | Gallery

Suisun City police log: Dec. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Fairfield police log: Dec. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Weather for Dec. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

A look at the 2 NYC officers killed in ambush

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
What’s being said about killings of 2 NYC officers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

Killer of 2 NYC officers had long criminal history

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Killings of 2 New York officers trigger backlash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 5 Comments

California puzzles over safety of driverless cars

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Timeline of events before and after NY cop deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Pakistan makes arrests in Taliban school carnage

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Florida authorities say 1 police officer shot and killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Tent city sprouts in shadow of downtown Detroit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
US mulls putting NKorea on terrorism sponsor list

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Satanic Temple puts up display at Michigan Capitol

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Australian woman charged with murder of 8 children

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Exit poll: Ex-regime official is Tunisia’s new president

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
.

Opinion

Faust and the 2015 federal budget

By Mike Kirchubel | From Page: A8

 
Obama, surgeon general still losing to NRA

By Francis Wilkinson | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

Let the music begin

By Colleen Britton | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Dec. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Dec. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
 
Horoscopes: Dec. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

‘Hobbit’ goes out on top with $90.6 million 5-day debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Good news from Tom Brokaw: His cancer is in remission

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Review: ‘The Interview’ deserves to be seen

By Jake Coyle | From Page: B7

 
Happy day: Elton John, David Furnish marry in England

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

.

Sports

The Week Ahead: Not much of a break for Christmas

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

 
Steelers, Packers win, move into playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Raiders knock Bills out of playoffs with 26-24 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Kings snap 5-game losing skid, beat Lakers 108-101

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Burns gives Sharks late-night win over Blues in OT

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
NFL Roundup: Cowboys end 4-year drought, make playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

7 hurt when lightning strikes near Tampa Bay game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
India’s Arjun Atwal wins Dubai Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Documents: FSU QB Winston cleared in conduct hearing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Super-G crash makes Vonn wait in bid for record

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

US companies eager to embrace Cuba face hurdles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Survey: US gas prices fall 25 cents per gallon

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Obituaries

Marian Kay Zutz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Bart Ferro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Beetle Bailey Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Get Fuzzy Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baby Blues Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Garfield Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C. Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sudoku Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Cryptoquote Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Bridge Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Crossword Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7