Sunday, February 22, 2009

Board won't budge

From the Courier Times:

. . . board President Ritchie Webb told the newspaper's editorial board last week he believes there's solid unity on the board to stick to its guns. Webb's fellow board members were quick to agree.

While union President Louise Boyd also was invited to meet with the newspaper's editorial board, she declined, saying she meant no disrespect to the public, but it's the 700-plus educators' policy to negotiate directly with the district - not through the media.
"Unfortunately, the district has been unwilling to move this process forward in as timely a manner as the (NFT) has strived to achieve," Boyd wrote via e-mail. "Quite frankly, we're disappointed that the district has chosen to be more proactive in communicating with the media than with the (union's) negotiations team."

You can read the entire article by clicking here.


Living In Feasterville said...

As I read all of these posts and comments from recent blogs, a question suddenly comes to mind; where does the budget problem stem from?
The district closed Neshaminy Middle School last summer to save a proported $12 million and has now scheduled Tawanka to be closed to save a similar amount. I hear from many different places in the district that the board claims to have a $14 million buget deficit this year, having nearly emptied the district's strategic reserves. If my math is correct, that means that the $26 million is unaccounted for recently?? With all of the public outrage against the teacher contract conveniently kept fueled in the press, this has gone unnoticed by many.
Where has all of the money gone? Clearly a significant portion of the school district budget is paid to staff (teachers, administrator, and support staff) salaries and benefits. But this has traditionally been the case with Neshaminy, as in most other districts for decades now, so that cannot be the source of all the mssing money. The money has not been spent on school improvements since the schools are running low on teaching supplies like toilet paper and papertowels and many buildings are litterally falling in around our children.
As tax payers, we deserve the right to know: what has been done with all of the money that the district has proported to save by closing two schools now? Have we simply not seen the savings from Neshaminy Middle (and later Tawanka) yet or have we seen the savings and we are litterally that far in debt??
Clearly costs need to be cut across the board, and a new contract, no matter how good for the board, cannot hope to solve the problem alone.

William O'Connor said...

LIF - About 80% of our total expenditures go towards salaries and benefits for staff. Not all of that is for the certified staff (teachers) but most of it is. So it doesn't take much to figure out that having one of the highest paying salary structures in the state with no health care contribution is causing much of our current financial crisis. Add to that the poor return on investments (income which offsets our expenses), increased fuel costs, etc., and you have the formula for what's put us in our current situation.

JS said...

Think about California. They didn't just spend an extra $40 billion dollars all of a sudden to have budget deficit.

The fact that no one is buying or selling homes makes a huge difference. Transfer tax, and fees can mount up quickly. On top of that depleted income from investments can equate the $14 million. Subtract the $1.8 million in health benefits and the $1 million dollar single source prescriptions and you come down around $11 million.

With that being said I don't think it was ever said that $12 million would be saved by closing Neshaminy Middle. If you take out salary and benefit costs (teacher, administration, support staff), then a $12 million dollar savings would be about 35% of expenditures. There's no way that the number you stated is correct. And Tawanka would be no where near the amount of Neshaminy Middle.

The only way you could come close to those numbers would be if you sold the building AND property of both those schools. Even then I don't think it would equate to that amount. Even then it wouldn't be a yearly savings, only a one time amount.

I don't know where your information came from, but it doesn't seem to be very accurate. I'm not sure what your angle is against the board, but tossing out inflated numbers doesn't bring you much credibility.

Wing Man said...

I have read your posts in the Courier blog Feasterville and it sounds like you are trying to lowball numbers to make it sound like teachers aren't making that much money. The truth is they are well compensated for their job, but they are receiving too expensive benefits for today's economy. Free healthcare, walking away money when they retire, insurance coverage till they retire at no cost - we can't afford that. For the union to come to the table asking for more with no concessions in return only shows their greed. I love what our teachers do in the class room, but I absolutely hate what they are doing here.

I must be living in Jersey said...

I cannot comprehend the gaul of Ms. Boyd to criticize the board for going public. With over a year of fruitless negotiations which included demands for more and more from a financially hurt public, the teachers should be ashamed of themselves. I know that you had a great contract going into the negotiations and realistically wouldn't want to give all of that up, but to ask for a huge increase without paying for benefits? Come on guys, that's just plain disrepectful to the Neshaminy community. You should have come to the table with some concessions.

Tell the board to hold their ground William.

time4change said...

I would like to say that I am behind the board all the way. If it comes down to it I will watch as many kids as I can if they decide to strike and I will gather as many people as possible to march right next to them to let them know how taxpayers feel about them being selfish at a time when people are fighting to keep their homes.
As for LIF you have no idea what your talking about in the courier times you say teachers in neshaminy make very little I suggest that you go to stop teachers strikes web page look under 120,000 Salaries I do believe that not one of your teacher friends would have a salary of 35 thousand like you state. I looked up at least three new teachers all under 5 years and they all are all making over 45 thousand and that was for 06-07 not last year. Another thing is that all these teachers have a chance to make more money by coaching. also remember when you are talking 45000. no health care is coming off the top.
I would like to bring up one more thing that goes on at least over at carl sandburg the kids are asked to give 5.00 each towards gifts for teacher who are getting paid to put on the play this year there is 102 times that with 5.00 that is $510 towards gifts for these teachers this happened last year. What ever kids is in charge starts bully tell these kids that they have to give this money and my kid is bullied. These teachers know this is going on and nothing is done about it.

JS said...

1 point to mention about the teachers salaries posted on that site. It includes all pay from the district, so those teachers who coach have that money included in their total figure.

With that being said I find it laughable that there are 8 out of 10 school nurses making $93,000+ a year, another making $85,000 a year. This is while nurses in a hospital actually keeping people alive make $60,000 and they work year round and often night and weekend shifts. That shows how out of touch the ENTIRE district's salary policy is with reality, not just teachers.

I hope the Board remembers this same stance when it's time for the Support Staff and Administration contracts.

Jake said...

Excellent point about the nurses and the overall salary structure in the district. Great research JS. Now let's see if people are paying attention to what's written on this blog and over at the Courier Times blog. Everyone must support the board loudly so the teachers hear us. It's the only way we'll get their union to budge.

langhorne said...

Living in Feasterville's opinion shouldn't be dismissed so easily. It is part of the negotiation game for each side to tell some non truths. Although overtime hrs have been restricted, how is it possible that a couple of retired staff members continue to put in work days at District Office? How can a district in desperate times, afford to allow such a practice? I know they're not volunteering. According to Mr Paradise, there should be no sacred cows. This district always seems to have exceptions to the rule.