Let me be more direct – Why is Frank Farry interfering in our negotiations? Why is he even meeting with education special interest groups instead of fixing what's wrong with education funding?
According to Mr. Farry, he told our support staff union they need to "concede some" … SOME? Well Mr. Farry, what education programs shall we cut to make up for “some” of those concessions? Right now there is a $7.3 million deficit for next school year's budget. Even if the support union agreed to EVERYTHING the board offered that would only reduce expenses by $1 million. For every operational expense we don't reduce, that's another program that gets cut. What should we cut . . . sports? choir? after-school clubs? AE classes? I have asked that NESPA President Mindy Anderson answer these very same questions. Perhaps she and Mr. Farry can put their heads together and come up with the magic bullet.
Later in the interview, Farry says he’s concerned about what could happen if the District “privatizes” transportation services but he offers nothing to substantiate his fears. Why would he even be concerned that we would take these services back in-house? Do you think outsourcing will fail, Mr. Farry? Is it because it would cost too much ... even more than what we pay now? Don’t think so. Is it because the vendor’s drivers would be too dangerous? Not likely since First Student anticipates employing over 90% of our current drivers. So what is it you are basing your fears on?
Consider this: 86% of PA school districts outsource their transportation services. In Neshaminy’s case, following suit will save us an average of $3 million every year that will be used to maintain our education programs. Council Rock uses First Student and was happy enough with their service that they just renewed their contract. Sounds pretty successful to me. When your baseless gut feelings can stand up to that, let me know.
If you want to help us Mr. Farry, how about taking a leadership role in reforming state worker’s healthcare and retirement benefits? It’s a shame that you feel powerless to do anything about that, according to your own words in today’s article. I’m no political expert, but if you want to earn re-election this year, you might want to drop that whole “freshman legislator” tag and kick it into second gear.
When Farry opposed a Republican budget last July that would have cut education spending, I gave him a mention on this blog and I even wrote him an email thanking him for splitting with his party. That’s what he should be doing – take care of business in Harrisburg to the benefit of his constituents back here. But when he injects himself into local issues like this, he’s crossed a line.
Call me cynical, but I don’t like when election-year politicians start taking interest in things they shouldn’t be involved in. Why is Frank Farry even meeting with NESPA? The Board never asked him to intervene, and he certainly has no right to speak on our behalf. Even with good intentions, Frank Farry should have refrained from discussing contract issues with NESPA. But he didn’t, and that makes me question why?