Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Miscellaneous musings

Yesterday’s NFT press conference blamed the district, the board, and yours truly for “indirectly” causing “increasingly dangerous acts against members of the NFT.” Their evidence – several allegedly defaced lawn signs, and a shoving incident between a secretary and a teacher last week. Oddly enough, the only documented evidence of a problem between a teacher and a parent/tax payer occurred in Levittown, where the spouse of a teacher was observed removing a pro school board lawn sign from the resident’s lawn.

Undoubtedly union officials will blame this spouse's actions on reading my blog and Facebook page. has
the NFT press conference posted on their website.

Regarding last week’s shoving match, while I cannot comment on the specifics, I must say that I’m shocked the NFT will throw a member of their sister union, NESPA, under the bus publicly just so they can make a baseless accusation against the Board. Should the NFT ever go on strike, I wonder how many members of NESPA, if any, will stand by them on the picket line.

The irony of this confrontation between secretary and teacher is that it has absolutely nothing to do with the school board or bloggers or the angry vocal minority. There is so much more going on here than meets the eye.

And for today’s “REALLY?!?” award … To Anne Schmidt for even hinting that things could escalate to the point of what happened to US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

During last night’s Board meeting, Kim Koutsouradis challenged the NFT leaders to allow a 3rd party to count the votes at the upcoming union elections. Excellent idea, and I hope union officials will take that idea and run with it.

Since there are many teachers at the upper end of our compensation scale who will want to protect those retirement perks, I do think current leaders will survive their election. But if they see a significant amount of discontent among the rank and file, perhaps that will alter their approach to negotiations.

Yes, you heard right. The cost of NFT retirement perks, including the $27.5k payout and free insurance, have cost tax payers around $40 million since they were implemented. It's one thing to ask residents to share the financial burden of public education, but it's something entirely different when not one dime of that burden ever finds its way into the classroom to the benefit of children.


Last night I incorrectly stated that an arbitrator concluded that harassment occurred in the case of a union official confronting another teacher regarding back to school night last year. In his ruling, the arbitrator reduced the 5-day suspension down to 1-day, and said that in his opinion this incident “was not harassment … because an ordinary person, although perhaps very annoyed, would not have found it harassing.” The arbitrator added his opinion that the union official did not intend to harass their colleague to the point they could not perform their job, and actually went to the classroom "for the exact opposite purpose." The arbitrator concluded that the District did have a right to “impose discipline for the Grievant’s unwelcome classroom visit.”

I regret the misstatement.

To resident Lee Kirsh who last night stated that nice comments about teachers posted on my Facebook page seem to disappear - how about a little proof, please. Can you have someone contact me and provide details of any "nice" comments that were deleted? You see, I do not delete comments simply because they may come from someone who disagrees with me. And I certainly don't purge positive things said about teachers.

Perhaps Mr. Kirsh you didn't happen to notice the thread I posted in May honoring National Teacher's Week, and the 70 or so positive comments from readers that followed.

As you can see from the section above, if I make a mistake I am willing to acknowledge and correct it. Are you willing to do the same?

In the midst of all the controversy, you should take a moment and enjoy humor when you can. During the second public comment last night, Steve Rodos had reached the 3 minute limit of his speech when he stated his feelings of something the Board could have been doing better. At that very second, Ritchie Webb interrupted him to say his time was up. Everyone started to laugh believing that Mr. Webb was just kidding, and so Mr. Rodos continued to speak. Then Webb jumped in again and said he wasn’t kidding at all and that Mr. Rodos’ time had truly expired.

The exchange between both gentlemen was purely coincidental yet perfectly timed, and it gave the audience a much-needed laugh.

Did you see my picture with
today’s Courier Times’ article? Do I always look that brooding? I need to cut back on the caffeine.

But I ask you ... what other elected official can pull off a purple shirt and matching tie like that? :-)


I won't be at the October 11th meeting, so that leaves me with just three board meetings left before the end of my term, and it can't happen fast enough for some people, I'm sure.

Let the countdown begin!

1 comment:

abbeyainscal said...

Lee Kirsch's wife is a Pennsbury school teacher so you can see how much merit that comment has.