CFT: A Union of Educators and Classified Professionals
For Immediate Release
January 17, 2023
Contact: Maya Polon, (818) 288-6231
CFT to Carpinteria USD: Reinstate Jay Hotchner Immediately
Legal panel found district was unwarranted in termination
of local teacher and union leader
CARPINTERIA, CA – Today, CFT joins the Carpinteria Association of United School Employees in calling for the union’s president, Jay Hotchner, to be reinstated as an employee of Carpinteria Unified School District (CUSD) following a ruling by the Commission on Professional Competence that the dismissal of Mr. Hotchner was not warranted.
In a recent ruling, a panel convened by the Commission found that the CUSD unfairly and illegally placed Mr. Hotchner on unpaid administrative leave for the last two years. Through the panel, the Commission has directed the CUSD to reinstate Mr. Hotchner and make him whole for any damages he has suffered. The district is also required to cover all of Mr. Hotchner’s legal fees, which the union assisted in paying, as well as a portion of the court’s costs. The decision by the three-member panel (made up of an administrative law judge from the state’s Office of Administrative Hearings, and two certificated persons employed by other school districts – one chosen by Mr. Hotchner and one by CUSD) was unanimous.
The district has spent, to date, an estimated $2,500,000 in public funds in an effort to discredit and malign Mr. Hotchner’s efficacy, with the ultimate goal of destroying the Union and removing local educators’ collective voice.
“The astronomical amount of public dollars and district staff time spent attacking an educator who has repeatedly been found innocent of these baseless claims is absolutely abhorrent,” said Jeff Freitas, President of CFT. “Having begun my career as a high school math teacher in this district and having found my role as a leader in my local union in Carpinteria, I know how this waste of resources and distraction is a disservice to students. Following the commission’s ruling that Jay Hotchner must be reinstated as an educator in the district, CUSD must not further delay his return to the classroom. This is ultimately a publicly funded attack on school workers that must end.”
This is not the first time union leadership has been attacked and maligned by district leadership. In 2021, the Public Employees Relations Board found the district was guilty of “retaliation” and “discrimination” against Mr. Hotchner. Even under appeal, that decision was upheld, and the district was ordered to “cease and desist” engaging in said behavior. This, however, has not deterred the district from its smear campaign.
CFT – A Union of Educators and Classified Professionals represents 120,000 teachers, faculty, and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the AFT. More information at www.cft.org.