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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Comments regarding pay freeze

Question: I am very discouraged that our BOE would attempt to degrade a tax payer by calling the tax payer's opinions "emotional" and referring to them as seeking "retribution."

Many tax payers wish for our BOE representatives to press the BPTA for a 100% pay freeze for all of 2011/2012, and in addition to that if an ethical pay freeze such as mentioned above is not reached then many tax payers would accept additional teachers being eliminated - this is not retribution, it is an attempt to close the budget gap. As tax payers should we attempt to negotiate with teachers to save their jobs? Have the teachers considered our community's elderly and disabled who live on a fixed income and cannot support another tax increase, what about so many of the families in this community who are financially under water, have the teachers considered them? But as a community we should not share our honest opinions for fear it will be taken out on our children? The BOE wants us to focus our efforts on changing Taylor's Law; is the teacher's union attempting to change that law? Come on. Tax payers who speak up are not anti-teacher, we love our teachers, we love our school, and teaching is a very challenging job, we respect that, but we need to make some difficult decisions. Mr. Szumowski, in all fairness to tax payers, this submission should be posted, this is a forum for tax payers to communicate, with the District, with each other, and there is no more important time than now, for tax payers to contemplate all sides to this budget process.
-submitted by Kellie Whitman
Answer: Mrs Whitman, I have heard it said, and have since repeated, that communication is the hardest thing we do. This is a pitfall of forums such as Patriot Plain Talk - they're more suited to question-and-answer interactions than dialogue. No insult was intended in the response to your most recent post.

The point about children bearing the cost of decisions we make should be clear: fewer teachers and programs reduce the opportunities for learning and achievement.

The Board of Education negotiated formally with the BPTA (attorneys for both sides were present) and did not come to agreement. If agreement is not reached there is no alternative.

Details of formal negotiations are private under law.

Our desire to focus on reform of the law has two purposes: to produce tangible, meaningful results and elevate the conversation above the typical us-versus-them conflict. Without reform we will be forced to conduct business as usual.
-answered by Ed Szumowski, Board of Education Vice President

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