Friday, October 28, 2011

NSB fires back at SLCS

NSB Press Release SLCS 10282011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Board Prez: NFT claims of uncommitted funds are "numbers out of a hat"

NSB Press Release Uncommitted Funds 10202011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New round of talks scheduled

Representatives from the School Board and NFT will meet on Tuesday, November 1st at 6pm for further negotiations.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The $62 million ticking time bomb

As the NSB and NFT continue negotiating salary and benefits, there is one not-so-little issue that everyone better keep an eye on – The Public School Employees Retirement System, or PSERS. With the long anticipated hike in employer contribution rates almost upon us, Pennsylvania school districts are looking at rate increases from the current 8.65% up to 12.19% next year, and as high as 26.26% in the 2020/2021 school year.

Just how bad can it get for tax payers? Well, if you gotta ask . . .

Our district’s annual payroll for teachers is $50,202,222. Multiplied by the current employer contribution rate of 8.65%, this means Neshaminy’s contribution for this year will be approximately $4,325,000.

Now let’s just assume teacher salaries remained exactly where they are for the following 9 school years. Even with a flat payroll in 2012/2013, the increase in the PSERS employer rate means that Neshaminy’s contribution will jump by a little under $1.8 million to $6,119,650. And it gets worse as the employer rate jumps. By the 2020/2021 school year, the 26.26% rate translates into a $13.2 million contribution, which is $8.8 million more than what we are contributing now.

When you add it all up, over the following 9 years Neshaminy tax payers will be fitting the bill for a staggering $62,608,994 in increased employer PSERS contributions. And that’s assuming teachers don’t get any salary hikes between now and then.

Of course we could pray that Harrisburg comes up with some magic bullet fix to PSERS without bankrupting tax payers, but we cannot plan on that. So for now, every contract offer that increases teacher salaries must also be viewed in light of its potential impact on our employer contribution.

And in the midst of all this, we still have a school district to run.


Friday, October 7, 2011

NFT claims credit for class size

Soon after Ritchie Webb's Monday clarification on class size, the NFT stepped right in to take credit by telling they were pleased to learn that the Board has taken the possibility of class size increases off of the table "following NFT leafleting and contacts with parents about the issue."

The NFT would have you believe that the pressure they applied somehow manipulated the Board into making a decision we didn't want to make, but nothing could be further from the truth. They've used far more aggressive tactics that have accomplished nothing, so it's ludicrous to believe their handing out of leaflets had anything to do with the Board's decision regarding class size.

In reality, credit for this decision rests with the Board's negotiation team and the Citizen's Advisory Panel. During their review of the collective bargaining agreement several months ago, it was agreed that nobody wanted to see an increase in class size and so this issue was removed from consideration.

Although some confusion was caused by the circulation of an incorrect version of the last offer to the NFT, it doesn't alter what the Board intended nor does it change who is responsible for the idea.

Let's give credit to where it is truly do in this case ... Thank you to the Citizen's Advisory Panel for putting the concerns of our students above of all else.

Playwickian earns award

Congratulations to the 2010-2011 Neshaminy High School Playwickian editors and staff writers for receiving the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Gold Medal Certificate of Excellence for High School Journalism.

The CSPA judges stated, “What a delightful read! Your coverage is fair and diverse and really covers all aspects of your school and community. Your paper is engaged in what is going on at school and around you.”

The CSPA has critiqued The Playwickian for the past 35 years and has received a Gold Medal for an outstanding 24 years.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Webb: Board won't increase class size

In an effort to clarify the Board’s position on the issue of class size, Ritchie Webb today reaffirmed that the Neshaminy School Board has no intentions of increasing elementary or secondary school class sizes as outlined in the last teachers' contract. The only change sought by the board concerns adoption of the State Board/Department of Education recommendations as they relate to special education case loads.

Webb said, “at the very next issuance of a Board contract proposal to the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers, we will include clear language that will put aside any concerns the public may have regarding elementary or secondary school class sizes.”

Webb added that he hopes this clarification will bring an end to those people trying to exploit the issue in an effort to draw attention away from the many key outstanding issues which are part of the current negotiations with the NFT.