District negotiations frustrate staff, stymie printing

Nina Schmidt

Class of 2020 may be the next graduating class to hold a copy of the Jolly Roger due to the elimination of the district print shop.

After the print shop closed in December 2016 and printer Ali Hekmat lost his job, it became known that since Hekmat was part of the classified union, the district will not be able to outsource the printing of any material for at least three years as stated in the union contract.

Students on the Jolly Roger staff feel discouraged and question why the district would take an action that would harm them. According to Lars Christensen, Director of Human Resources for Tam Union High School District they eliminated the print shop due to the fact that, “it was simply not fiscally prudent to continue operation.”

While finances are a consideration for any school district, they are not always the most important one. The elimination of the print shop has repercussions that bring aspects of the district’s decision making into question.

This action has disregarded students and teachers alike and has also brought into question the conflict between free press and budgetary matters.

However, given that many students are occupied with school, sports and other extracurriculars, the Jolly Roger relies heavily on  the fact that students read the paper when a hard copy is right in front of them.

“It’s unfair to the students that work so hard to make it every month, and it’s unfair to the students who want to support their peers because essentially no one goes online to read it.” senior Devan Wilson said.

Going online presents not only problems for the motivation of the staff, but also for the survival of the paper.

The closure of the print shop is not just an issue for the Jolly Roger staff and readers.

The work the print shop did for teachers is now the teacher’s burden. “The nature of my curriculum makes me spend extra time making copies for students or I have to change the way I teach now that the print shop is closed.” science teacher Millie Milstead said.

These repercussions for both the Jolly Roger and the teachers who now have to take personal time to print instructional material are no surprise to the district.

According to Tim Mullery, local CSEA President, “CSEA has been informing the district back as far as October 2016 that the effect of these layoffs needed to be negotiated before the closure of the print shop so that students, staff and community wouldn’t be affected by this decision.”

Although the fallout from the print shop closure is already affecting the school’s community, the situation is fortunately still evolving.

“The next scheduled negotiations session is Monday, March 27th. I’m hopeful the printing negotiations between the District and CSEA will soon be resolved.” Christensen said.

However, as of March 28, students are still not allowed to resume printing. More negotiations will take place on March 30.