Association, superintendent work on resolving differences

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 22, 2003

Austin Daily Herald

Progress is being made between Superintendent Corrine Johnson and the Austin Education Association to resolve problems that led to a vote of no confidence last December, AEA President Robert Riege said after the union meeting last Wednesday.

"We're still working through the meet and confer committee with the superintendent and representatives of the school board," Riege said. "We're not rescinding anything, but we're working on getting the issues resolved."

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Riege said the issues that led to the vote were problems with communication, the leadership of Johnson and her public image.

"We've resolved some issues with communication," Riege said. "We still have some issues with leadership and image."

In response to the call for better communication, Johnson started a newsletter, the first issue of which came out last month.

"It's just an update of things that are going on that the staff might not be aware of," she said.

She said that the newsletter will probably be quarterly.

Riege said that union members still have issues with the public image of Johnson, but did say that she has been a more visible part of school activities than she had been previously.

"She did some of that stuff in the past, but she's doing a lot more now," he said.

One specific issue that Riege said still needed work was related to the chain of command. Riege said that people had been reprimanded for bypassing the chain of command and going directly to the school board with issues.

"We're all taxpayers," Riege said. "We should be able to talk to people. We're also parents, so it's a two-way street."

Johnson said she did put an emphasis on the chain of command at meetings this fall. She said the chain of command is important if things are to run smoothly.

Both Riege and Johnson seem satisfied that things are improving.

"I think that both parties are aware that an effort needs to be made," Johnson said. "Both parties are making it."

"A lot more could be done," Riege said. "But it takes a long time for things like this to get done."

Matt Merritt can be reached at 434-2214 or by email at :mail to