Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Board rejects fact-finder's recommendations

From today's Courier Times . . .

One yes plus one no equals no deal.

The Neshaminy support union approved a fact-finder's recommended contract, including agreeing to outsource busing. The school board, however, said no with its silence. Not responding within 10 days of the report being issued counts as a rejection, according to board President Ritchie Webb. Monday was the deadline to respond.

"The board still has some questions as to whether or not the report meets the financial needs of the district," Webb said. "We're also hopeful that we can have some discussions with the union to look at other options."

You can read the entire article by clicking here.


Danielle said...

This is getting out of hand the board wanted the fact finder and that's still not good enough!! I need to know where my job stands!! Enough is enough already!!!


I thought the NSU was against outsourcing? Did they approve this because only part of their group (bus drivers) would be affected? The NSU (all support staff) and NFT (all teachers) must contribute to a healthcare plan. This is where the funds are going. This is where cost savings makes the most sense.

Neshaminy employees, especially the teachers, are paid very well and we do appreciate all of their hard work 190 days each year. However, they should be greatful for high salaries (and for being employed). It is not right for them (NSU & NFT) to expect taxpayers to pay for their health insurance while children's programs and quality of service are cut. In today's economy employees are not getting salary increases and free health insurance. Their jobs are being cut.

JS said...

Danielle, the problem with any fact finder or arbitration is that they are prohibited from looking at financial costs only on terms.

Since the bus drivers will get a very similar wage and benefits to currently it was expected that they might endorse outsourcing.

The problem is when you look at custodial services. The salary/benefit norm for custodial companies is FAR less than what those in Neshaminy get paid so obviously the discrepancy between terms of offers would have the fact finder not recommend outsourcing.

Never mind how much more that costs the District, that's not what the Fact Finder is charged with. Just look at terms and determine a middle ground.

I think a bigger issue with the Fact Finder's report is the fact that for the next 4 years the District would be precluded from outsourcing and any outsourcing companies would have to agree to bargain with the union (and pay summer unemployment). Sorry that won't happen so the District is left no choice but to not agree to the Fact Finder.

The fact is that the Board probably knows what jobs will stay and what jobs will be outsourced. Like any employer they also know telling employees a month ahead of time they will not have a job just asks for problems. Again welcome to the real world and you can thank Mindy for your road map.

She (and the other full timers not expected to get outsourced) and all the retirees were only concerned about their benefits, not anyone elses job.

I think you and all the other members of NESPA will find out the same time as the public, June 15th when the final budget is approved. (My money is on Transportation and at least some portions of Custodial, but that's just me)

Neo Con said...

KIDSFIRST, Yes, the NSU is against outsourcing. Looks like they're cannabilizing themselves in some twisted effort to save themselves. Throwing the transportation dept. "under the bus" was their clear thinking but Im pretty certain that the drivers didnt go along with that vote. I guess they were outnumbered and trampled by the other members trying to flee this firey movie theatre and save their own jobs. Note as I have though, that there is a "Me Too" clause in the fact finders report giving them the same benefits as the teachers should they negotiate a better contract. Not sure what the board is going to do here but it looks like the 800 lb. gorilla in the room just started to stir. With administration benefits and now the possibility of support staff benefits tied to what the teachers get maybe its time to start cleaning up this teacher mess before it gets out of hand.

C said...

I have had dealings with many different labor unions in my time and in following the Neshaminy saga I see an old delay tactic going on here.If this board turely wants to outsource and I think they do they are doing these employees a great disservice by not being forthcoming with their decision. The children of these employees will fall out of medical coverage because the employees will not have the time or money to corba their medical to cover the lapse between employers and that is a gross disservice to the children this board claims to be protecting. This diverts these people to county and state welfare programs simply moving the tax burden to a different area(PA and Bucks)
JS the fact finder can not dictate who how or when someone gets unemployment that is governed by the state,and telling them a month ahead of time, what are they going to do strike not come to work and what lose more money come on.
This board wants to outsource all possible positions not just because of health care cost but the pension plan and payments to the fund are staggering and the buses and future middle school sale are not enough to cover the debt.
These people already know that the real world is cruel and this is a hard thing to do for the board also, be up front with them, so they can start to move on .

Jake said...

There is your explanation Danielle why the board rejected the fact finder they requested. Let me see if I have the math right on this. We can take the fact finders suggestion and save $3 million over 3 years or we can outsource support staff functions and save over $30 million in 5 years.
I am not taking any pleasure in seeing you or anyone possibly losing their job, but do you honestly expect the average person to struggle over this decision? We may like you but nobody is worth a difference of $27 million.
I have to ask you a question Danielle. When the board first said they were going to look at outsourcing, Mindy Anderson had to know there was substantial savings there. Why didn't she do something to drastically improve her counter offer immediately? Did she just not think the board would go through with it?
I know you can't answer for her, but I'm curious what you think.

Jake said...

C, if you are as familiar with unions as you say then you should understand why the board can't make a move yet. As another reader frequently posts (I think acs), after the fact finder proposal is done the board will offer nespa one last chance to match the savings of outsourcing. This is done to avoid litigation. I assume nespa will file a lawsuit anyway but this is the board dotting it's I's and crossing it's T's.

For the sake of the staff I too wish they could be told what is happening, but it is because of their union and the standard union playbook that they are in this position.

Danielle said...

thanks C looks like some people do still have a heart! Believe me I know all to well about the real world so stop trying to welcome me to it...I worked countless jobs with NO health benefits or retirement until I decided to try working for the school district so please give the real world stick a rest I didn't have health benefits till almost thirty years old because I worked jobs that didn't offer them. I worked to keep a roof over my kids heads benefits were not important food and shelter were. thank you though but like I said I don't need a welcome! Jake to answer you really I have no answer at this point Iam so fed up with everything like I said I just want to know the status of my employment so I can plan for my family. Oh and just another not the fact finder savings was 8.5 million by outsourcing transportation not 3 but I find it interesting how everyone is quick to throw us under the bus but don't have a problem with 59 administrative staff making 47 million dollars!! Funny I say!

srodos said...

If one of those alleged jobs become vacant I will be the first to apply. I find it hard to believe that the district would pay almost $800,000 per year to each of 59 administrators. It may make a great story but it is pretty far-fetched.

JS said...


Outsourcing Transportation will save more than $3 million dollars over three years (as compared to how much keeping Transportation in house would cost).

The thing is what the Fact Finder recommended, 3% raises the last 3 years and only a 10% medical contribution would eliminate a good chunk of that. So that is why the numbers don't match.

I will agree we have too many over priced administrators, but come on, if Administrators are supposed to be a level above teachers on the liability and responsibility scale, they should get pay for that? NO?

So the problem starts with the fact that teachers are overpaid (not much, but to some extent) and it bumps the Administration up. I like the idea of knocking everyone down AT LEAST 5% (with some even more, Bus Ad/Super/etc).

Two wrongs don't make a right. Even if Administrators' salaries were cut, would that make it ok to overpay for Support Services? I don't think so.

C, the Fact Finder does stipulate unemployment (by outsourcing companies). $3000 at that.

So you tell several dozen employees a month ahead of time they will be outsourced. Bus Drivers may not be able to rebel much, but let's say they outsource Custodial. You don't think that drains might get clogged, supplies might go missing, or simply they won't clean? What would the district do? Fire them? Before you say you don't think they all would, there are definitely some that most certainly would.

They do this at companies all the time. They tell you THE day you are let go and they escort you out. You never know how someone will react when they are let go. If the Board holding off keeps from having thousands of dollars in damages to fix, so be it.

If it was so important to keep their jobs, they shouldn't have let Mindy drive them off a cliff. Oh wait, she's in a different car.

JS said...

I hadn't even noticed the typo by Danielle. Oops. If it was supposed to be 4.7 million that would only be an average of $79,600 per, so not that outlandish.

KClarinet said...

JS said:
"If it was supposed to be 4.7 million that would only be an average of $79,600 per, so not that outlandish."

Way too low, I would think.

Danielle said...

Sorry srodos I never said per so maybe you should look again that is for the length of their contract for 59 people. With the large majority of them making OVER 100,000$ including the super making 171,000. Iam sure they are not living pay check to pay check like the large majority of Neshaminy tax payers including myself with support staffs so called overpaid wages!!! Their pay is also public knowledge look it up if you don't believe!

JS said...

I don't pretend to defend the high salaries, but really?

Where does that math come from?

On the Neshaminy home page you can look at the proposed expenditure budget. The entire "Administrative" section (including supplies, etc.) is budgeted at $8.3 million. That includes salaries for all administrators, cabinet and secretaries. It also includes medical insurance and pension payments.

Since both the Administrators and the Administrative support staff signed three year deals, you take that $8.3 million and you get $25 million (still not 47).

I agree that $171,000 for a superintendent is a bit much, plus so many making $120k+.

That doesn't make it ok to toss out faulty math.

It also doesn't make it ok for the taxpayers to over pay for some services provided by NESPA employees. I'm sure many do a valiant job, but that still doesn't make it ok.

Bus Drivers will be fine, apparently all those other drivers working for First Student and others can live and survive. The custodial staff may find it a shock to not get paid $20 an hour for cleaning somewhere else, but that isn't the taxpayers fault either.

Neo Con said...

Im not sure why everyone is even arguing their sides at this point. To all the support staff whos postitions were put out to bid: Get your resumes together and dust off your best suit because this board is going to gut the system you have come to know it's a horrible reality but it cannot be avoided. THERE IS NO MONEY, im sure that if there was there would be no problem with a contract extension and a 10% co pay on benefits. This ship is sinking and believe it or not its the teachers who are the ones that are locked in the steerage compartment not the support staff. Change is a scary thing for so many people but you all must understand that its not going to stop with the support staff. When outsourcing no longer satisfies the budget gap THE PEOPLE will be forced to look at other expenses i.e. teacher and administrative salaries and services. For now this is the most economical decision and I think that we can all agree that these tough times arent going to get better overnight. We are teetering on the edge with this school budget but know this YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS.