Friday, December 16, 2011

December News

Our December meeting included board recognition of several students and student groups and their great achievements - but I'm sure all of that has now been overshadowed by the very last thing we addressed on our agenda that night, which was for the board to implement our last best offer of a contract to our teachers.

Our two negotiating teams have held various meetings to discuss the contract since April 2011.  A federal mediator was eventually agreed to by both sides, and yet an agreement was not reached.  I read on Facebook today the following posting by the Swanton Enterprise:

The Swanton teachers’ union approved authorization yesterday to send the board of education a 10-day strike notice after 10 months of negotiations proved unsuccessful.The Swanton Education Association voted unanimously at a general membership meeting to allow its bargaining team to set a strike date should the BOE continue to decline further contract talks. More in Tuesday's Enterprise

Interesting that we learn of these things on Facebook!  Such is modern life these days.

A press release was prepared by our interim superintendent, Russ Griggs, as follows:

The Board of Education of Swanton Local Schools and the Swanton Education Association have been negotiating since April 2011 for a successor collective bargaining agreement. The Board’s contract with the SEA expired August 31, 2011. The parties were unable to reach agreement even with the assistance of a federal mediator. Because the parties were at impasse, the Board voted on December 13, 2011 to implement its last best offer to the SEA.

The Board understands that the SEA took a vote on December 15, 2011 to authorize a strike. The Board has not received official notice of the vote and has not received any ten day strike notice from the SEA.

The Swanton Board of Education is committed to maintaining quality education in the district, and providing fair wages and benefits to the district’s teachers and other employees. Like many other area school districts, however, the district’s expenditures exceed and are projected to continue to exceed its revenues and it must act within the limits of fiscal responsibility.

Questions may be directed to the district’s Interim Superintendent, Russ Griggs, who will be available Monday, December 19, 2011 in the Board of Education office.

Anyone interested in knowing the terms of the contract implemented and the financial pieces related to it are welcome to ask Mr. Griggs for a copy of a notice he sent to all teachers on Wednesday afternoon.  As it is public record, anyone may ask for a copy.
I can only express my great disappointment in this latest action by the union. 

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