District teachers vote no-confidence on district leadership

380 teachers, including all teachers at Branham, sign on to statement denouncing Bravo’s handling of pay dispute


Alli Wang/Bear Witness

Campbell High School Teachers Association teachers present posters of 380 teachers backing the union’s vote of no confidence at Thursday’s board meeting.

Jazzy Nguyen and Alli Wang, Staff Writers

Campbell High School Teachers Association teachers present posters of 380 teachers backing the union’s vote of no confidence at Thursday’s board meeting. (Alli Wang/Bear Witness)

Amid overwhelming teacher opposition, part of which culminated in the teachers union’s presentation of a vote of no-confidence last night, the district’s school board voted, without comment, to extend Superintendent Dr. Robert Bravo’s tenure through 2024.

“We have no confidence in the superintendent’s ability to manage our district or to be an effective leader,” English teacher Barbara Arduini told the Bear Witness. “There’s no trust.”

Alison Lubiens from Prospect and junior Ainsley Bateman from Branham, the two student leaders on the board, voted against Bravo’s extension.

The board’s decision came after dozens of impassioned speeches from teachers and students regarding their lack of trust in Bravo’s leadership, and in what they see as a lack of transparency coming from the board.

During the meeting, the Campbell High School Teachers Association presented the board with its vote of no-confidence, a show of force with the signatures of 380 teachers, including all 70 of Branham’s teachers

Additionally a Prospect student’s Change.org petition supporting teachers had garnered nearly 1,700 signatures as of Friday morning.

The vote of no confidence lists several grievances against Bravo, including his public statements that the students were “receiving inaccurate information” from CHSTA, and his comments that the union’s characterization of the $5,000 teacher salary as a pay cut was an  “erroneous claim.” 

Bravo told the Bear Witness that the grievances concerning his letter “have always talked about what I believe to be the positions of the association, not individual teachers.”

He said he felt disappointed by the “vote of no confidence” and it was an “unfair” judgment on him. 

“It was unfair with the idea that if we don’t compensate the teachers a particular amount, it means we don’t care,” Bravo said. “But we can disagree on how much the district can afford while still living in its budget.”

Chemistry and AP Biology teacher Juan Fernandez said he felt discouraged by the decision to extend Bravo’s term, but said he felt energized seeing many students and teachers stand up to the board.

“They’re not representing and defending the students and the community,” Fernandez said. “We shouldn’t have had to go to the extent of ordering a vote of no confidence. If only we had contract negotiations in good faith before it was forced upon us both by the superintendent and by the board members who are not acting like they say they are.” 

The teachers’ union and the district will continue their contract negotiations with the mediator on Nov. 15.