Thursday, October 2, 2008

Proposal Passes

Last night (Wednesday) at a special meeting of the Board, we held a vote on what is technically called a "Basis for the Agreement" on the teachers' contract. This is a formal document that is a step under that known as "Tentative Agreement", which contains all of the proposed contract stipulations requiring a vote.

This meeting was scheduled because Mr. Wiederman's removal from his wife's insurance did not free him to vote until Oct. 1st.

This "Basis for the Agreement" included exactly the same salary demands that I listed in an earlier post: a $200 "signing bonus" to be added to the base before the 3% general increase was applied in the first year; then a $300 stipend added to the base - again - before the 3% general increase was calculated.

This method thus results in a general increase of 3.7% the first year, and 4.1% in the second year. At the risk of repeating myself, all amounts added to the base salary become an integral part of that base, and therefore are carried forward ad infinitum. Forever.

After the motion was made to accept this document and seconded, Dennis Heban asked if there was any further discussion on the matter? Jeff Michael had a prepared statement to read. In it, he referred to having been spit upon by a teacher, and also the verbal threats he had received from another, as well as a couple of other parents. His characterization of those and similar acts as "sickening" was apt.

I had also prepared a statement to read. My goal was to let those in our audience know that this Board was UNITED - that we were united in our distaste of the document before us; that we were united in our understanding of the consequences if the measure should pass, and if the measure should fail.

Among other things, I said:
This is the decision before us tonight. On one hand, IF the proposal is rejected, we face a certain strike by our teaching staff and support staff, plus an additional expenditure of our tax dollars to pay for substitute teachers. Not a good thing. On the other hand, IF the proposal passes, we face a definite and large deficit in just a few short years – which will be even worse if the income tax levy does not pass. Again – not a good thing.

Dennis has characterized our situation as being forced to sacrifice our future for the present. I agree with him. We ALL agree with him.

I just wanted everyone in the audience to understand that each Board member up here has done his or her homework, and we all know exactly what is at stake, should this proposal stand – or fail. While only our individual votes will show each person’s opinion on what he/she feels is the best course of action in these circumstances, we are UNITED in our despair at the rock and hard place we are now between.

Dennis Heban, Mona Dyke, and Mike Wiederman also said a few, unscripted words. The mood was somber.

The vote was taken: 3 "yes" 2 "no". Motion carried.

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