By EDGAR MELCHOR P. LAIGO
BAGUIO CITY — A Physical Education and Filipino teacher of Saint Louis University Laboratory Elementary School (SLU LES) and sectoral elementary faculty representative to the Union of Faculty and Employees of Saint Louis University (UFESLU) was unceremoniously and forcedly ordered to go on leave for this coming school year (SY) 2011-2012 by the Saint Louis University Administration.
Eduardo N. Miranda Jr. has been teaching since 2003, starting as a contractual for the first two years. He has been a former SLU LES basketball coach.
Miranda said even the educational and other dependent’s benefits for the children who are students of the school have been withdrawn for the school year.
“My forced leave is allegedly based on my failure to pass the school’s yearly teacher’s evaluation report. But the real score on this is, the Administration particularly SLU LES have been piqued on issues I have continuously raised for the past years concerning financial management, administrative high-handedness and due-process. No appropriate action has been made to clarify or answer these concerns even after follow-up letters,” he stated.
The evaluation tool being used by SLU LES is purportedly for the enhancement of the development of the faculty. Three areas of concern namely: Professional Performance, Attendance and Punctuality, and Personal Traits and Attitudes are graded by a panel comprising the Learning Area Coordinator or subject head, Grade Level Adviser, Principal and the Assistant Principal.
The tool which had an effectivity period from 2006-2010 has lapsed and was used the past SY 2010-2011 for Miranda’s final evaluation that caused his forced leave.
“While the administration presents the evaluation tool through a powerpoint presentation during the start of the school year, the faculty has no means to deliberate on the soundness and objectivity of the said tool and the evaluation results presented later do not explain the basis of scores per item on the three major areas. The tool is prone for discrimination and it is easily used as a weapon against the faculty,” he explained.
A P403 athletic fee is collected for every pupil of SLU LES. A part of the fee is used for allowances for athlete pupils who join school accredited competitions/tournaments like, the Milo, City, District, Regional and National Games in all sports discipline where they compete.
Five parents and supported by Miranda have forwarded a letter of complaint to the SLU Administration last May 27, 2010 regarding inconsistent and unaccounted athlete’s allowances for competitions attended by their athlete children during the past years. Three succeeding SYs (2005-2008), basketball players who won the Milo Tournament received an amount of P1,500 while other athletes received P175.
But during the SY 2008-2009 where they duplicated their feat, they received a measly P205 allowance per athlete. During the SY 2009-2010 not a single centavo was given to the pupils.
The cry of concern and clarification has been met with inaction and silence. Recently, the assistant principal Melchor Pablico, through a letter dated March 11, 2011 in answer to a series of follow-up letters of Miranda, states “…this concern has slipped my mind due to equally pressing concerns…. I immediately got in touch with the accounting office to verify… results were not relayed to you… .as of this time, I still have to verify, confirm and make sure what truly happened…” Another school year is around the corner and nothing has been resolved.
SLU has a policy of no collection of any amount pertaining to school activities, yet the SLU LES collect contributions from pupils.
According to Miranda and confirmed by another teacher, the school collected last SY (for the months of August and December) a “voluntary fee” for the re-greening of the school campus. There were 8-9 sections per grade level at that time and P400- P600 per section was collected. Some flowered plants were procured but no audit and transparency was reported to the parents and faculty.
Other activities like Mother Mary’s celebration, variety show of the children and a grader’s ball (similar to the Junior-Senior’s prom of high school students) and monthly theme celebrations are held and a regular “voluntary” collection is done but transparency is not practiced.
Boy Scouts membership fees
For the SYs 2009-2011 regular sustaining membership fees and membership fee of adult scout leaders were not paid by SLU LES. It was only through the letter of Miranda that SLU LES came to know about this lapse on judgment of the administration.
Despite the fact that this was commendable, Miranda was admonished.
A system of individual reporting by the faculty on critical conversations, observations and ideas of co-faculty members is being practiced and promoted by the administration and given credence. Any concerned faculty is required to answer any allegation reported and if not satisfactorily answered would be negatively graded on the Personal Traits and attitude part of the evaluation tool.
SLU LES Response
When asked for comment on Miranda’s case and issues, Allan Padan, principal of SLU LES said that the issues and concerns of Miranda is an internal matter for the school to address. “I am not aware of any of the said complaints by Miranda and if the issue is on athletic matters, it is Melchor Pablico who is responsible,” he explained. He concluded, “ I am not aware of any decision of forced leave on Miranda.”
Many similar cases of forced leave decisions by SLU Administration have been meted on the faculty. The National Labor Relations Commission-CAR have decided on the reinstatement for some teachers while others are still under review.# nordis.net