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TUSD union: Staff facing workload crisis

Members of TEA sent board members dozens of letters about the workloads staff are facing.
Members of TEA sent board members dozens of letters about the workloads staff are facing.(KOLD News 13)
Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 7:31 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The warning is coming from teacher’s union in Tucson Unified: The workload this school year is pushing staff over the edge

Members of the union sent 20 to 30 letters to the board to be read at tonight’s meeting during the call to audience.

“So it’s from everybody, certified and classified. They’ve all got an additional workload this year that they have not experienced as much of in previous years,” union president Margaret Chaney said. “The fact we have people not returning to their work sites, people resigning early or retiring early, is just it’s unreal and unprecedented.”>

Chaney stresses that staff are having to do too much. They started on a sprint two years ago when the pandemic hit, she said, and they’ve never stopped.

She warns they are “still sprinting at an unsustainable pace.”

“When there’s an emergency, that’s one thing. But if it’s a constant emergency, It’s too much, it’s too much emotionally, it’s too much physically. it’s just too much and at some point we’ve got to push back and say enough is enough,”

In her letter to the district and board, she writes union members are “asking for a recalibration so we can focus on the needs of our students.”

Chaney says she has requested meetings with district leadership, including the superintendent, to discuss the workload.

She suggests dropping some weekly meetings to free up more time as a start.

“I’m not saying the time is a complete waste or anything, but is it really necessary to meet with people every single day when during that time they could be working with students?” she said. “They could be catching up on their lesson plans, and grading and calling parents.”

Chaney’s hoping the district and board will take the letters to heart and follow through on their concerns.

To put this into perspective on why the union is more vocal about the staffing crisis, she says, a TEA survey over the last two weeks shows that 40% of staff members do not plan, or haven’t decided, to return to TUSD next school year.

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