Thursday, March 31, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
NESHAMINY SCHOOLS - Teachers union President Louise Boyd said the union leadership and the members are one and the same.
The Neshaminy school board directly addressed the district's teachers, skirting union representatives, in an open letter Thursday.
The letter asked the rank and file to help push negotiations in a "realistic and positive direction."
Board members have said recently that the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers leadership group is prolonging the contract dispute, which has lasted more than three years.
However, NFT President Louise Boyd, in response to the board's letter, said that the union leadership and the teachers that make up its membership are one and the same.
"There are no union bosses, so to speak," Boyd said. "These are teachers representing teachers. This is something that (board President Ritchie) Webb needs to understand. When you talk to the teachers or about the teachers, you are talking about the NFT. When you talk about the NFT, you are talking about the teachers."
Later, in a statement released by the union, Boyd again blasted the tactic by the school board.
"Once again, the board fails to understand that the certified staff of the district is unified and steadfast in its resolve to negotiate a fair and equitable contract," Boyd said. "This letter is a clear attempt to divide our membership by subverting the bargaining process. It is a failed strategy. They would be better off directing their time and energy towards finding creative solutions to reach a fair settlement."
You can read the rest of the article by clicking here.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Ms. Meier began speaking to parent and student groups following the tragic loss of her daughter to suicide as a result of cyberbullying. Ms. Meier will cover topics such as, cyberbullying, bullying, bystanders and sexting and sharing with parents her own personal story.
Based on limited seating, community members should pre-register by calling 215-809-6100 between 7 AM and 3 PM. Students should not attend this presentation.
On the morning of Thursday, March 24th, Ms. Meier will speak to the entire Freshman Class at NHS then meet with a small group of Student Leaders across all grades.
Friday, March 18, 2011
The NFT released another press release today insisting their last contract proposal offers $2.8 million in savings. Obviously the concept of NET savings (you know, the actual bottom line) still hasn't sunk in with Ms. Boyd, so she still refuses to accept that their most recent proposal is more expensive than their original.
But wait ... the NFT has dug deep into their 1970's playbook to pull out another gem ... the Board is trying to undermine teachers!!! How do they know this? Do they finally have something concrete and verifiable to base this accusation on??? Nope ... according to Ms. Boyd, "Based on discreet conversations, we've learned that offering any percentage toward healthcare will not result in a contract . . ."
Great, another mystery source of information courtesy of the NFT. If you want to read the full press release for yourself, click here.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Testerman went on to say, "As part of his budget proposal, the governor requested that education employees accept a one-year pay freeze. The governor stated that this decision is 'determined at a local level and arrived at by contract and collective bargaining.' As president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, I concur.”
There is no word yet from the NFT as to whether or not they will drop or reduce their demands for retropay as a result of Testerman’s recommendation.
You can read the entire press release by clicking here.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
Sunday, March 6, 2011
By CHRISTIAN MENNO Staff Writer Calkins Media, Inc.
In a statement released Saturday, the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers is again accusing the district of sending conflicting messages regarding its projected financial situation.
The latest foray from the NFT led school board member William O'Connor to state that he "can see no end in sight" to the labor dispute while the teachers are represented by the current NFT leadership team - who he said has "mismanaged these negotiations from the very beginning."
The teachers union first questioned the school board's claim that the 2011-2012 preliminary budget features an $11.2 million deficit in a flier that was distributed to area homes last week.
That issue was brought up again Saturday, with the NFT stating that the board posted a revised budget projection dated Jan. 19 on its website that shows no deficit.
While the NFT contends that this should give the school board the ability to settle the longstanding contract impasse with the district's educators, board President Ritchie Webb said this claim shows a lack of understanding of the budgeting process on the part of the union and its public relations firm.
Teachers have asked for retroactive pay dating back to 2008 when the previous contract expired. The board has said it does not have the funds to agree to this and wants teachers to begin contributing to monthly health care premiums.
"To be clear, we are not suggesting the district ignore its planned long-range capital improvement projects," the NFT statement reads. "Nor do we advocate short-changing the educational programs that directly affect the lives of our students. What we are saying is that it is disingenuous of the (school board) to assert that it literally cannot afford to meet us at the bargaining table without depleting its reserves, raising taxes beyond Act 1 limits or cutting educational programs."
The district, however, is required by state law to eventually report a balanced budget, Webb said.
"It's not just Neshaminy," he added. "Several area districts are projecting large deficits and all have fund balances. (Acting business manager) Barbara Markowitz is prudently freezing all expenditures in order to do this. Exceptions can be granted but only with the approval of a supervisor. This is the procedure we have followed for many years and is nothing new."
This spending freeze, according to the NFT's statement, will deny this year's class of students "the materials and supplies they need to have a fair opportunity to learn and the staff resources needed to meet their students' needs."
Webb said that the union's claim that the district has more than $13 million in savings is inaccurate and that fund actually stands at $11 million, after $2 million was put in reserve to pay for the teachers' pension fund which he described as "nearly broke."
"The rate that our district must pay (to the pension fund) has increased almost on a yearly basis," he added. "Again, we go back to the state's recommendation that 5 percent of a school district's budget be held in a savings account and $8.3 million is that 5-percent for Neshaminy. That leaves about $3 million that we can spend on our children, contracts, building repairs and so on."
The union's statement concludes by urging the public to contact district officials and tell them that it is time for an end to the "take it or leave it" negotiating practice it says the school board is using.
Webb said that the union should agree to allow a Courier Times reporter to sit in on all future negotiating sessions.
"The board conducts all its business in the public and we are audited by an independent firm as well as the state and we operate in public," he added. "Why not the NFT?"
Christian Menno can be reached at 215-269-5081 or cmenno@phillyBurbs.com Follow Christian on Twitter atTwitter.com/cmenno_courier.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
To the Neshaminy teachers union for the confusing flier it circulated to homes in the school district.
The flier claims that the union has "offered to contribute to teacher health care plans," saving the district "$2.8 million annually." This is either a "major step" forward, according to the school board president, or "designed to confuse the public."
We don't know which because our reporter has been unable to get a clarification from the union, despite repeated attempts.
Don't hold your breath Mr. Petroziello. We've been waiting for an explanation for 3 years now. .
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
One student stated “The first thing I like about keyboard class is it made me faster at it so when I went on my computer I typed faster than I would usually.”
Another student said “I liked that we got to learn how to change the font color and we also learned what was inside of the computer.”
And my favorite comment . . . “I can rub it in my brother’s face that I know how [to properly keyboard] and he does not.”
Phase II of the pilot program will hopefully expand this test into all the 4th grades in elementary school next school year. However if Phase II is equally as successful next year, then our Curriculum Instruction team will be challenged to come up with a comprehensive computer education program for our elementary schools. And that will be a real challenge because up until now we have been able to accomplish this pilot with existing staff and equipment. But if we are to offer a truly robust computer curriculum for our students, it will require a financial investment. Too early to say yet just how much that will be, but let’s keep watching our pennies wisely now so we can invest in our children’s future.
Special thanks to Jerry, Karen, Mary, and everyone else involved in the pilot. You guys rock!
Important Note - The Courier Times changed their website but did not redirect URL's for previous articles, so any links to Courier Times articles below will no longer work. Please make note of the Courier's new web address at:
Yes, it is wonderful news. If only it were true.
The NFT is heavy on accusations but light on facts. Most of us would call that fuzzy logic.
NFT Lit Piece 02262011