As members of the Support Staff union (NESPA) picketed outside of last night's school board meeting, several parents inside voiced their support for the Support Staff and Teachers. They stated that the board should not consider outsourcing of support positions because those workers won't know and understand the children the way the current staff does. A couple of other speakers countered those opinions by raising concerns over the pending tax increases resulting from the State workers pension fund, and added that if teachers accepted the Board's offer then perhaps outsourcing wouldn't become necessary.
You can catch a synopsis of last night's meeting by reading this morning's Courier Times article by George Mattar.
Also last night the NESPA president, Mindy Anderson, presented the Board with another petition, noting that she now had collected 600 signatures. During her speech, Ms. Anderson quoted from my blog post where I said something along the lines of the petitions being a demand that we not outsource support staff jobs. I'm not sure if she was amplifying what I said or correcting it, but she went on to say what they were demanding were fair negotiations. Just to be sure I didn't misunderstand what the petitions demanded, I went back and re-read them. I kinda think I nailed it . . .
We, the taxpayers, of Neshaminy School District petition the Neshaminy School Board of School Directors to STOP all actions of threatening the School Support Staff with Sub-Contracting of their jobs. We do not support hiring for PROFIT companies and/or eliminating or reducing livelihoods of the Neshaminy Support Employees.
I do give the NESPA picketers credit for respecting district property last night and restricting their activities to the outer fringe of school grounds by standing near the bottom of the driveway entrances. I hope the NFT follows this same example at Thursday's elementary back-to-school night meetings and other district-sponsored events.
To be clear on the matter of outsourcing, the Board continues to negotiate with NESPA on a new labor agreement but we are also keeping our options open by inviting in bids from external vendors. Our hope is that we can successfully negotiate a deal with the Support Staff, but the current economic climate forces us to look down other possible avenues no matter how unpopular they may be.