San Jose’s East Side Teachers Association (ESTA) hit back this week after Superintendent Chris Funk’s announcement that he was stepping down because the union has “refused to come to the table,” on budget negotiations.
The union, which reps about 1,200 East Side Union High School District (ESUHSD) teachers, said Funk’s explanation for his departure doesn’t line up with what they know.
ESTA President Jack Hamner said the union gave Funk a 15-page list of grievances last April but got no response. They then forwarded the list to the district’s board of trustees, who reacted by pressuring Funk to resign.
“The board has since determined that the actions of the superintendent are not in line with the values of the ESUHSD and trustees decided to terminate Funk’s contract one year early,” Hamner explained in a statement.
Funk, however, pushed back on those claims.
“The board investigated ESTA’s list of complaints and responded to them in writing in the negative,” he said. “The board last Thursday [Aug. 6] accepted my resignation. If they wanted to terminate my contract, we would have negotiated a separation agreement and I no longer would be superintendent.”
Funk’s last day is set to be June 30, 2021.
Board President Lan Nguyen said last week the impasse in negotiations was due to “different working styles,” but praised specific aspects of Funk’s work over the years before the board formally accepted the resignation.
Regardless of the reasoning for his resignation, Funk said he hopes the announcement will allow budget talks to resume. Hamner said that “without a doubt” getting a new superintendent would help move those negotiations along.