Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fire them!

That's what Neshaminy resident Larry Pastor, Jr. said should happen to teachers if they should strike against the district. Mr. Pastor also said that the board should withdraw its current contract offer to the teachers and reduce it.

You can read all that Mr. Pastor had to say in this Courier Times Guest Opinion.


JS said...

Sadly, since I know quite a few teachers, I need to agree with Mr. Pastor.

The most common argument from the teachers (and/or union) is that how should they be expected to take less than what they had in the last contract. I agree that no one should gladly say "I'll take less money". The fact is that we don't live in good times.

There are lots of people who are having their pay reduced, health premiums raised, retirement plans cut back, and even being just laid off. They aren't asking for less money either, but thats the reality we live in. Those employers have to answer to their balance sheets and investors. Those investors are the tax payers, and they are saying you should get slightly less.

Sorry, that's the state of the job market, and though some seem more angry and vengefull than they should be, we as taxpayers should not be forced to pay to keep your "status quo".

Mr. Poster points out a lot of things that are out of line with current state of the economy in the previous contract.

One of the ones I have serious issue with is the fact that the District reimburses for graduate coursework not associated with a degree. Basically the teachers are reimbursed for a course that will ultimately garner them more pay (next step in pay scale) with out it being towards an advanced degree. Either pay the next step or the reimbursement, not both.

Obviously the health care needs to have a contribution, but that is more a bargaining point based on the other parts of the contract.

Even Pennsbury is sitting and waiting to see what we do here in Neshaminy. I think the Board should make a drastic step and offer what they truly think we can afford. If that means expire the contract and start over, so be it.

JS said...

Scary story to add to the issue of teacher contracts.

I think this is one issue we fail to bring up when teacher's pay is discussed. People already feel teachers may be over paid. What most fail to include (myself included) is that they really don't have to save for retirement. They can take their full paycheck home and spend it and they will still have a pension waiting for them.

Those of us with 401k's, 403b's, IRA's know that we must take parts of our pay and put it away, or we won't have anything. This equates to the teacher's pay being even Higher in relative terms to the private sector.

This is something the Board MUST address with respect to this new contract.

We currently pay several thousands more per pupil than surrounding districts. We should eliminate that disrepancy and bring the cost of this new contract down. As the story states above, we are looking at tax increases imminent in the future for pensions, so save us money now.

I always hear that teacher's contracts are compensation for not being in the private sector and making tons of money. Well I know myself and lots of other private sector workers who would LOVE your level of money. Wake up and realize the Money Tree is all dried up.

William O'Connor said...

To JS: One very reasonable solution to the pension plan problem is to allow the teachers (and state workers) to invest the money themselves. That would allow them to invest the money in a manner refelcting their personal situation, it would likely get them more money in their pension, and it would eliminate the taxpayer responsibility to cover market losses.

This strategy is utilized in corporate America (for those companies still offering pensions). Unfortunately since this same pension plan covers our legislators - the very people who would have to vote to change it - I seriously doubt the pension plan will ever be changed.

JS said...

Sadly I would have to agree.

KClarinet said...

This isn't the place to argue Mr. Pastor's points, but the inflamatory headline seems silly given the legal reality. The most effective school district answer to a teachers' strike under the current law is to ignore it - it is legally required to go away before any of the mandated 180 days of school is threatened. Any teachers' strike becomes essentially an exercise in futility, and teachers are aware that all they can accomplish by striking under normal circumstances is to enflame whatever part of the local citizenry supports them. That's why a number of districts in the state recently - including Pennsbury and Bristol Township locally - have gone more than a year at a time under extensions of their old contracts - boards have little incentive to negotiate because all teachers can really do when negotiations break down is complain, and in the current economy many teachers feel safer keeping what they have than accepting cuts the more vocal members of the community call for. In all likelihood, Neshaminy will simply continue under an extension of the expired contract. But in any case, Mr. Pastor's incendiary "Fire them if they strike" is almost certainly posturing (it's always good P.R. to come off sounding like Regan when he ended the air controllers' strike) because a strike is highly unlikely.

KClarinet said...

That should have been Reagan (Ronald) and not Regan (Donald - first Reagan's Secretary of the Treasury and then Chief of Staff).