Teachers Says East Side Union Superintendent Misrepresented Early Resignation 

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.

Janice Bitters is managing editor for Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @janicebitters.


  1. I’ll try again.

    If the letter this article is referencing starts like this:

    Dear Board Members,

    As has been previously agreed, we, along with many from ESTA leadership, plan on going to and participating in the Vanto Group training/seminar. To that end, this letter is not intended to be an ultimatum or a conditional in order to receive our participation. This letter is only intended to set forth a realistic expectation about possible outcomes given the situation as it currently stands.

    Then someone cut and pasted it as a comment (on the other prog site), its a long, long read.

    To paraphrase the complaint, basically Mr Funk wiped the floor with the teachers union on the regular, using perhaps questionable, but certainly effective tactics. I think at one point they even admit, Funk projected 20%-30% deficits in the out years, got the union to take a hair cut, and the district ended up either breaking even or having some surplus for a rainy day. Is this not exactly what a supervisor is supposed to do?

    CA taxes its citizens $220B, maintains some of the worst roads (San Jose being the second worst road system in the US), fails black and brown kids educationally to a mind boggling extent, and, well at least the readers of this rag seem convinced, the police force is irredeemable. If there is a continuously worsening ROI out there, I have never seen it.

    But you tar and feather this guy for repeatedly negotiating to keep the district on budget?

    The inmates are run this asylum into the GROUND and the adults have all checked out.

    This is what you want your kids to inherit?

    SJI Blockers – Is that nicer?

  2. yes, i read it

    he kicked your ass over and over and made budget

    his job

    the teachers however fail year after year the kids that need the most help

    shame on you

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