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Bellevue Teachers Take No Confidence Vote Against Superintendent

The vote of no confidence occurs as the teachers also ratify a two-year contract.

Along with ratifying a two-year contract with Bellevue School District, the Bellevue Education Association also took a vote of no confidence against district Superintendent Amalia Cudeiro Wednesday.

The Bellevue Education Association voted 97 percent to ratify the new contract. That vote was followed by a 97 percent vote of no confidence against Cudeiro. The turnout was not immediately available.

The teachers union President Michele Miller said that the teachers wanted the school board to know that they did not have faith in Cudeiro's leadership, questioning her long-term commitment to the district.

"I hope what it does is allow the school board to listen to the professionals in this district," Miller said.

In response to both votes, Cudeiro said that she will continue to work with the teachers, staff and parents on the changes in the contract.

“I am pleased to hear our teachers have approved the contract agreement which allows us to start school on time. This contract contains a number of bold changes and change is often difficult. I understand this and will continue to work with teachers, staff and parents to listen to their ideas, thoughts and concerns as we move forward to implement the new changes in this contract. I believe these changes will benefit both students, as well as teachers,“ she said in a prepared statement.

Miller said the vote was directed at Cudeiro's continued involvement in Targeted Leadership Consulting, a firm that specializes in school-leadership training. Cudeiro, hired by the district in 2009, is a senior partner and co-founder of the company

Miller cited a 2010 interview of Cudeiro in the Seattle Times, in which said Cudeiro said she would make reforms in Bellevue before returning to her consulting firm.

"We want someone who is invested in Bellevue and invested in Bellevue for the long term," Miller said.

Miller said that even when contract negotiations led to a teachers strike three years ago, the teachers did not take a no confidence vote at that time.

The acting superintendent at that time was former finance director Karen Clark, according to news reports from 2008. Former longtime Superintendent Mike Riley, who had headed Bellevue for 11 years, had left the district the previous year, to take a job as vice president for college readiness at the College Board, though many of Riley's changes throughout the years led to the contention that led to the strike.

Agreement on key issues

Several issues that kept the district and the teachers apart were on the gradebook deadlines and the use of Early Release Wednesdays.

The gradebooks will be required to be updated every 15 school days, which is what the teachers had been hoping for.

The Early Release Wednesdays will be used for an agreed-upon combination of both class preparation, grading and parent meetings -- what it is used for now -- and for district- and school-organized training and planning. Elementary teachers will get a guaranteed 40 minutes of time during that Early Release Wednesday for planning and grading, Miller said.

"That was very important to the elementary school teachers," she said.

M September 01, 2011 at 06:29 AM
Bellevue parents feel the same way! https://www.facebook.com/pages/NO-CONFIDENCE-VOTE-on-Dr-Amalia-Cudeiro-Bellevue-School-District/260487993975715
EJ September 01, 2011 at 11:39 AM
Why was the turnout number not available? 97% of what? Can't arrive at 97% without the turnout number... The 97% stand alone makes for a big media splash but we are missing an important piece.
John Vidale September 02, 2011 at 05:08 AM
Nice to see a clear report on local news. This Patch is a very welcome development for local news, and I hope more commenters make it an interactive medium. However, the basic issues are not yet clear to this ignorant citizen. I don't buy the stated complaint that the Superintendent once said her tenure would be short, nor that negotiations were unnecessarily contentious. Could you spell out why the negotiations should have been settled sooner and with less acrimony, according to teachers and some parents? I'm becoming inured to last minute (or later) deals in negotiations ranging from my own employees up the the US Senate and House, so what's the backstory here?
Bell September 02, 2011 at 07:48 AM
EJ: The reported turnout number to ratify the contract was about 600. They did not release the number of votes for the no-confidence vote. It was apparent that some people left. I would estimate the number who left at approximately 50-100. JV: I interpreted Michelle Miller's comments about invested in Bellevue in the long-term differently. To many among the teaching staff, Dr. Cudeiro's conduct is less about the general welfare of the students - and yes, the staff - in the district and more about furthering her own personal agenda. And in terms of spelling out information, I've found Steve McConnell's blog (http://www.bellevueschools.net/) to be fairly complete with information. I tend to agree with many of his viewpoints as well: his teacher contract negotiations posting on August 23 seems particularly well written.
John Vidale September 02, 2011 at 03:31 PM
Thanks, Bell.

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