Saturday, September 25, 2010

Board gets tough with latest proposal

From an article to appear in Sunday's Courier Times . . .

The Neshaminy school board is fighting back - hard.

After rejecting the latest contract proposal from the teachers union, the board came back Thursday with a one-year offer and added in wording that would require teachers to work three nights a school year. The night work stipulation was included after teachers didn't show up at recent back-to-school nights.

The addition was needed to ensure that teachers cannot choose to skip the functions, school board President Ritchie Webb said Friday. The teachers' last contract did not specifically mandate that they attend such nights.

The board's rejection of the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers' proposal came easily, according to Webb, because the district would be unable to meet the union's financial demands.

"First of all, they wanted retroactive pay," he said. "Our figures indicate that if we agreed to that, for the past three years, with salary increases, it would cost the district $11.7 million out of the current year's budget. That is just not doable. Even if we wanted to do it, we couldn't do it."

He cited the state's Special Session Act 1 of 2006, also known as the Taxpayer Relief Act, as another limiting factor. "Under Act 1 for this coming year, the most we'd be able to raise taxes without exceptions or a voter referendum is $1.6 million," Webb added. "It is impossible to finance the amount of increases they want."

In a statement e-mailed to the newspaper Friday, NFT president Louise Boyd said the board is not negotiating in good faith.

"Last night the Neshaminy School Board rejected, out of hand, the most recent proposal presented by the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers. The board refused to discuss specifics," the statement read. "The board proposed to amend its existing 34 pages of changes with the addition of a 35th page of demands. This means that the board is actually going in reverse in the negotiating process. This is not good-faith bargaining and the board knows it. The public should know it, too..."

The school board's Thursday offer is for one-year during which teachers would be required to contribute 17 percent of the district's cost for their health care premiums, receive a 1 percent raise plus steps, totaling to an average 3.1 percent, and work the three nights.

The board's offer also calls for teachers to work longer hours - 7.5 hours daily as opposed to the 7 they now work - and more days - 190.5 per year instead of the 188.5 in the expired contract.
A $27,500 retirement bonus found in the teachers' previous contract is eliminated in the board's offer.

To read the entire article, click here.


JS said...

Is it at all possible for the board to release the actual $ numbers concerning the contract offers?

We can all see by the Administrator's payments what the percentages would be like. The NFT's offer concerning medical premium reductions (even if overblown by them) should save some money.

This way the public can have a real true idea of the dollar amounts between the two sides. The public was behind the no-retro stance before the $11 million, now it's time to show how much the medical would cost.

Honestly I feel the board should have come back with an altered offer.

Take current medical plan and what 17% would be. Take NFT "new" plan and what it would save over old plan. Take 17% number, subtract NFT savings, multiply NFT "new" plan by x percent to equal 17% of old plan.

Old plan cost = $20,000 per family
17% = $3400
New NFT plan cost = $18,200 per family
old minus new = $1,800
$3,400 - $1,800 = $1,600
$1,600/$18,200 = 8.7%

New board offer between 8.5 and 9 % contributions.

That's a percentage even LESS than surrounding districts. Guarantee you younger NFT teachers would be jumping ship if the Board offered that.

abbeyainscal said...

Wow - I actually can't believe the board came back with something that sounds tougher than what was presented before and I"m pretty happy. I love that they are covering the intangibles that have apparently been able to allow the current work to contract. You go guys!

Libertae said...

JS - it sounds like you are actually talking about negotiating - something that has not happened in the last 3 years or so. Mr. O'Conner, I wrote to you two years ago and suggested that both negotiating teams should be totally replaced. I still stand by that statement. The current personalties will never overcome their differences. The NFT for over two years would not negotiate healthcare; and each time the NSB makes an offer, it asks for more than they did before. This is insane; it is not negotiating.