Petition to Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe to Intervene to End the Crisis in the PCSSD
  • Petitioned Gov. Mike Beebe

This petition was delivered to:

Governor, State of Arkansas
Gov. Mike Beebe

Petition to Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe to Intervene to End the Crisis in the PCSSD

    1. Robert Austin
    2. Petition by

      Robert Austin

      Little Rock, AR

A crisis exists in the Pulaski County Special School District, due to severe fiscal irresponsibility on the part of past and present PCSSD administrators and school boards. The man currently at the top of the organization, Superintendent Jerry Guess, is costing taxpayers more than $261,000 -- for the current school year alone -- and 56 others in the PCSSD also cost taxpayers in excess of $100,000 per year, each.

None of these 57 people are classroom teachers, nor support staff. However, in response to "fiscal distress," the State of Arkansas has taken over the PCSSD, and Dr. Tom Kimbrell, State Commissioner of Education, has directed Dr. Guess to "fix" this crisis -- and they are trying to do it on the backs, and the bank accounts, of teachers and support staff. Their methods, so far, include (1) attempting to destroy two legally-constituted labor unions (PACT and PASS), (2) proposing cuts to employees' pay for next year, and (3) breaking the legally-binding contracts between the unions and the PCSSD. These contracts were negotiated with the assistance of federal and state mediators, and are legally binding through 2015.

No one should want to find out what will happen to the credit rating of the State of Arkansas if these contracts are broken, nor how the bond market will react, should this happen. Honoring one's word is, after all, the foundation of our economy.

It is incredible that District administrators (especially Dr. Guess, who collects bigger paychecks than do U.S. Senators) refuse to take cuts to their own exorbitant salaries, yet expect teachers to sacrifice large portions of theirs. It is also shameful that the PCSSD's legal fees for the current school year are already in excess of one-third of a million dollars -- and climbing -- simply to defend actions which were illegal and/or unethical, from the start.

No one has explained why the students of the PCSSD are having their instructional time disrupted by a labor dispute which neither they, nor their teachers, did anything to create.

The voters of the PCSSD have been completely disenfranchised, with Dr. Kimbrell acting as a one-man, unelected school board. In words made famous by the Boston Tea Party, this is "taxation without representation." Even worse, parents no longer have any voice in the education their own children receive at school.

Governor Mike Beebe should direct Dr. Kimbrell to order Dr. Guess to restore recognition to PACT and PASS, return to the negotiating table, and work with the unions to resolve the current crisis. If either, or both, refuse to cooperate, however, we, the undersigned, ask the Governor to order Dr. Kimbrell to terminate Dr. Guess's employment (if Dr. Guess refuses), or terminate Dr. Kimbrell's (if he refuses), or, if necessary, direct both men to seek employment elsewhere.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. 1,554 signatures -- target reached, and exceeded!

      Robert Austin
      Petition Organizer

      We were not only petitioning on-line, but also door-to-door, with good old-fashioned paper petitions. When these hundreds of paper petitions were counted, yesterday, we found that we had 1,554 signatures, all total. Governor Beebe will receive the entire petition package, including the comments here, quite soon. Thank you, to all who signed, and support our struggle!

    2. Reached 1,000 signatures
    3. "Crisis in the PCSSD" Video Now On YouTube

      Robert Austin
      Petition Organizer

      Images from our struggle, set to music. This provides a way for those not directly involved to see what we are up against, and why we ask for your support. In the USA, we have now had signatures from most states, as the latest map shows. We also appreciate our international supporters, who are worldwide.

    4. Reached 750 signatures
    5. Petition deadline changed to June 16

      Robert Austin
      Petition Organizer

      This allows Arkansas run-off elections and teacher non-renewal hearings to happen, while the petition is still active. Signatures will be personally delivered to the Governor's Office a few days after the on-line petition closes. We also have over 200 paper signatures so far, so we are nearing the 1,000 mark, total. Thanks to all who have signed!

    6. This Petition Mentioned Today in "Teacher's Daily Digest"

      Robert Austin
      Petition Organizer

      This is an on-line resource for teachers everywhere.

    7. Support Spreads Worldwide!

      Robert Austin
      Petition Organizer

      This map shows where people have signed who live in the United States. There have also been signatures from Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, India, Mexico, South Africa, & the United Kingdom. Thank you to all who have signed!

    8. International Support Is Now On Four Continents

      Robert Austin
      Petition Organizer

      We have signatures from Australia, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, India, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. The world is watching this.

    9. My Letter to the "Arkansas Times" -- "Interfering with Education"

      Robert Austin
      Petition Organizer

      Printed May 2, 2012, this will give you an idea of the impact this mess has been having on our students. They deserve better than this.

    10. Reached 500 signatures
    11. We now have signatures from all over the US, & three other countries, also.

      Robert Austin
      Petition Organizer

      The other three are the United Kingdom, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. I'm sure there will be more to come. The whole WORLD is watching this, Gov. Beebe.

    12. Support from All Around Arkansas!

      Robert Austin
      Petition Organizer

      All counties shown in red or black have people who have already signed this petition -- thank you so much! This does affect every single American taxpayer -- especially those in this state. Dr. Jerry Guess's salary (he costs taxpayers over a quarter-million dollars to employ for a single year) does not fall from the sky -- it comes from YOUR pocket!

    13. Support from Many States!

      Robert Austin
      Petition Organizer

      We have also had signatures from Ecuador and the United Kingdom. The whole world is watching, now!

      At least one person in each colored state has signed this petition. Thanks to all of you for your support!

    14. Today's THV: PACT Council Votes "No Confidence" in PCSSD Leaders

      Robert Austin
      Petition Organizer

      This vote was unanimous, and was taken May 15, 2012, shortly before this petition went on-line. PACT (The Pulaski Association of Classroom Teachers) has no confidence in the leadership of Dr. Jerry Guess, nor that of Dr. Tom Kimbrell.

    15. Reached 250 signatures
    16. Plans for numerical goal

      Robert Austin
      Petition Organizer

      It appears that petitions on this site become inactive when the numerical goal is reached. However, we simply want as many petitions as we can get! Therefore, the target will be moved, as needed, to keep the petition going until June 1. Please keep spreading the word, and thank you to all 237 who have signed!

    17. Over a hundred signatures in fewer than 24 hours!

      Robert Austin
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you so much for your continued support -- and this doesn't even count the non-online versions, being circulated door-to-door!

    18. Changed deadline to June 1st

      Robert Austin
      Petition Organizer

      This gives us Memorial Day weekend to gather more signatures. Please keep spreading the word!

    19. Reached 100 signatures
    20. Changed deadline to May 26

      Robert Austin
      Petition Organizer

      Yes, I know this is soon, but we need to get this to the governor very quickly, and I do think we can make 1,000 signatures by then!

    21. Moved goal from 100 to 1,000 signatures

      Robert Austin
      Petition Organizer

      12 hours put us more than half-way to 100, so, clearly, a higher target is called for!

    22. Reached 50 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Kaye Richardson N LITTLE ROCK, AR
      • almost 2 years ago

      Why am I being made to pay for the sins of some of the former board members and the many former superintendents who performed their duties so poorly that the board paid them to go away before the state stepped in and made them all go away? This is so unfair! I have kept my end of the bargain! I've worked diligently in the district for 29 years, I have a master's degree, and I did the work and paid the money for staff developement hours. Why am I being punished? Why is my pay being cut? This is wrong!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Cari Esparza CHICAGO, IL
      • almost 2 years ago

      Mismanagement of schools is a nationwide problem. As a country, we need to closely examine who IS running our schools, for their seems to be no accountability, excepting to blame teachers who remain powerless in their desire for educational reform. We need greater community involvement and transparency. No more high paid consultant friends!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Rosalyn Schnall HENDERSON,, NV
      • almost 2 years ago

      I have personally authored the book, When Teachers Talk. It was the result of five yrs. of in depth research. Five hundred public school teachers spoke anonymously about their school situations without fear of reprisal from their principals. The study was random and the results were published in my book . Many teachers urged me to bring this information public in order to help raise awareness and bring about reform. Therefore, I am WELL AWARE OF THE PRESENCE OF WHITE CHALK CRIME.

      My book serves as both a testimony and tribute to our best and brightest principals, as well as a scathing expose of those who do not deserve to be in these public positions. note: Karen Horwitz 's book WHITE CHALK CRIME serves as a living testimony to this problem in Education. Her website, NAPTA (National Assn.for the Prevention of Teacher Abuse) is growing exponentially as more and more teachers discover it and share and post their stories.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Tonya Olinger CABOT, AR
      • almost 2 years ago

      I attended multiple schools within PCSSD and went to college to become a teacher with intentions of avoiding the school district after getting my degree. It's sad when someone who was a part of something would rather not be affiliabted if there's a way. I am now a real estate agent and see everyday clients coming in and requesting to find a home outside of the shool district for their children's benefit. I have lots of homes or sale in the school district but every time I have a buyer they would rather go one city over to Cabot just to have a better education. The air force base is where a lot of business for agents in the Jacksonville/Cabot area come from and by the time they get here after being transferred they have already been told to avoid pcssd. This is the district of our State Capitol what people across the nation and world recognize about our wonderful state and they avoid it like the plague because there's no one taking a stand to straighten things up! Instead... We grant 3 million to our state fair... Because that's important to the future of our children, state, and nation!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • John Scott OCONOMOWOC, WI
      • almost 2 years ago

      I was a victim of the abuse and I documented just how far an administration can take their practices. I also collected insurance for two years for the atrocity. I am the only one who has accomplished this but I had to give up my chosen career. I would also like to see a true TEAM approach to education so everyone is on the same team with no politics and full accountability to the public that actually funds the system.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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