Quite a few charges leveled at the Board.
Hmmm. . . wonder how many are true?
Before we get started, I should let you know something: the vast majority of our teachers and support staff members are of high caliber. These are quality people, and it shows in their work.
Having said that, I can honestly tell you that I have been absolutely flabbergasted at how these rational, calm, highly professional people suddenly turn into complete strangers when contract time rolls around. I have been appalled at the tactics to which this board has been subjected. The one common thread seems to be their OEA union rep, who storms into a room with a huge chip on his shoulder. Could his apparent attempts to justify his existence in his job be the problem here? I would prefer to think that is the case, especially when it comes to our support staff.
Well, for those of you so inclined to actually read the facts instead of only reading the rhetoric, I offer for your perusal the following documents:
First: the Tentative Agreement signed by both the SSSA representative and our Superintendent, which clearly shows what from the Aug. 28th mediation was agreed to by those parties on October 6, 2008 (when their signatures were affixed).
Tentative Agreement signed 10-6-2008
Second: the handwritten proposal by the SSSA on Aug. 28th which shows several items that were NOT agreed to by both parties. (and there are many . . . see if you recognize some of them)
SSSA handwritten proposal of 8-28 NOT agreed to
Third: the most recent written proposal by the Board negotiating team, handed to the SSSA on Oct. 6th via the federal mediator. (We received no written proposal back from the SSSA - only this lovely half-page ad in the Enterprise.)
Written proposal of 10-6-2008 from Board team to SSSA
Lest we forget, here is also a link to the Unfair Labor Practices that the SSSA has filed against the Board of Education, which they expect us to fight with your taxpayer dollars when we need to have our attorney answer for us.
ULP dated 10-3-2008
ULP dated 10-9-2008
(for reference, please see Ohio Revised Code section 4117 and remember that no proof is required prior to a ULP being filed . . . which is why these things are almost always dropped by the union as part of a contract settlement - which is what has always happened historically in Swanton, as well as the most recent SEA contract situation)
Therefore - as the written documentation clearly shows, the claims made in the Enterprise half-page ad and in the ULPs lack basis in fact. That includes the statement in the ad that insists there was an agreement on a "me too" clause. As the documentation shows, that statement - among many others - is false.
The members of the Board all welcome input from the residents of our district. Please feel free to contact any or all of us, after you have had a chance to read these documents.
It is very difficult to move forward in these negotiations when we are put into the position of fending off deliberate misrepresentations of the facts. Only when the SSSA and its OEA union rep decide to negotiate in a reasonable and adult manner will this contract have a chance to be settled. The Board representatives are ready and willing to do so. I only hope the SSSA team will decide to be willing as well.
Should you wish to ask the lead negotiator from the SSSA about the glaring statements in the Enterprise ad, please feel free to contact Betse Schmitz at 419-825-1630 or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org . Ms. Schmitz is not the only member of the SSSA negotiating team, but it is her signature on the TA and thus she holds the lead position.
(oh! my Board email address is: Cynthia.Irmen@swantonschools.org - whoever placed that ad in the Enterprise got that wrong, too)