T/E School District institutes 7-minute clock-in and clock-out rule for aides and paras & progressive discipline for violation

A bit of background —

On February 4, I received a copy of a memo dated January 31, 2014 from Sue Tiede, Director of TESD Personnel.  Tiede’s letter went to ‘All Employees paid on an Hourly Basis’ (aides/paras) with the subject line, ‘Attendance & Punctuality’.  Although I was told that ‘all aides and paras’ received the letter, that was not accurate – some of the aides and paras did not receive the letter until this week, 10+ days later.  On Wednesday, February 12, aides and paras across the District were called individually into the principal offices of their respective schools to read Tiede’s letter. Before discussing the contents of Tiede’s letter, I have a problem with lack of District cohesive communication.

Memo to T/E aides and paras –

The focus of Tiede’s memo is the District’s establishment of a 7-minute period of clocking-in and clocking-out for hourly employees.  These employees are only permitted to clock-in within a 7-minute period before their scheduled start time and within a 7-minute period after your scheduled end time.  If scheduled to start work at 7AM, employees can only clock-in between 6:53AM – 7AM. If scheduled to end your workday at 3:30PM, employees can only clock-out between 3:30PM-3:37PM.

Having set the guidelines for the 7-minute clock-in and clock-out period in her memo, Tiede then details the progressive discipline measures for violation. A three level discipline approach, aides and paras receive a verbal warning and written notice for their first offense.  An employee receiving a second violation receives a written warning in theur personnel file with threat of suspension or discharge if another violation occurs. If an employees is cited for a third violation of the 7-minute rule, they are subject to suspension without pay and possible termination.

I find the contents and tone of Tiede’s letter demeaning and threatening to the District hourly employees.  District aides, paras and substitute teachers currently do not have District provided health coverage.  TESD aides, paras and substitute teachers do not have the benefit of organized union protection as do other District employees — the  teachers (TEEA) and members of  TENIG.

What is driving this letter of intimidation from the District?  In my opinion, the answer is Affordable Care Act and a way for the administration to make certain that hourly employees not go over the 30-hour limit that requires employee covered health coverage.  By instituting this policy of progressive discipline, the District is not considering the safety of flight risk children and special needs children. Did the District explain this new 7-minute policy to the parents of these children?  There will be situations occur where aides and paras are required to choose between remaining with a child or risking disciplinary action by not clocking-out within the 7-minute window.  The use of time clocks for our District educators is nothing more than a different category of factory worker.

Was this 7-minute District policy and corresponding disciplinary action vetted by the School Board members? Was their discussion about the ramifications of this policy for special education students and their parents?  Is this just another approach by the District to outsource the aides and paras – meaning, intimidate and threatened these employees to the point that they just leave.

Last spring, we saw the backlash from the public over the School Board’s attempt to outsource the aides and paras rather than comply with the Affordable Care Act — is this letter to District’s hourly workers, and its contents, a precursor to round two this spring? As previously mentioned on Community Matters, the School Board has repeatedly delayed any further public discussion of the ACA compliance issues — meeting after meeting.  Perhaps part of the back-story to the Board’s continuing resistance to discuss the associated ACA compliance issues is related to Sue Tiede’s letter to the aides and paras.

I encourage you to read the letter below, draw your own conclusions and welcome your comments on Community Matters..  Please share the information with District parents, particularly those parents (and their children) who rely on the services of these targeted District employees.  On the offside chance that School Board members are unaware of Sue Tiede’s letter to the aides and paras, I will email them a copy of this post.

 

TESD Suspension

 

 

 

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  1. Patty, I just couldn’t be happier that you are being made aware this demeaning and insulting letter we aides, and time clock personnel received. Once again, it just goes to show how this district has and still continues to ‘sh..t’ upon their aides. I truly will never understand how a group of people like ourselves, who have committed ourselves to caring, teaching, guiding, nurturing, etc., students with some VERY demanding needs ever deserved to be treated the way we are. It’s bad enough that there is such a lack respect for the aides to begin with, and it’s HIGHLY noticeable the way teachers are regarded as opposed to us. The teachers and administrators are worse than the students when it comes to forming ‘cliques’ and making aides feel left in the dark with information. For a distict that has such a ‘claim to fame’ about anti-bullying, they ought to practice what they preach!

    This letter was just the icing on the cake! At this point we feel like we’re being treated like ‘factory workers!’ And even they have protection from unions. What also was not taken into consideration was the length of the school day. If we are to ‘clock out’ at exactly 2:30 and the students day does not officially end until 2:37, (middle school) what are aides supposed to do? Oh, maybe just leave the crying special Ed student standing at their locker, having a meltdown(as they often do at transition times) walk away and say, ‘sorry kid, I have to clock out so I don’t get written up! Give me a break! Do any of the higher ups in this district, including board members have half a brain??!!! Better yet, do any of them have a child with special needs?? Apparently not, and if they do they must have hearts made of stone, because this is the only type of person that wouldn’t take SO many variables such as this one into consideration.

    If it wasn’t for the dedication we aides have to special students and wanting to give back to our community by helping these students, trust me, very few of us would stay with this district, and it certainly isn’t the money keeping us here! For what we are making we may as we’ll volunteer our time somewhere. This letter was dispicable as was the way it was presented to us. Once again, shame on this distict! I am glad my children have graduated out of it! I am embarrassed of this distict and for them!

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  2. Pattye, I think you are correct that this probably has to do with ACA issues and also federal employment law. I know in my company that if someone clocks in more than 7 minutes early or clocks out more than 7 minutes late that we pay them for 1/4 hour. If it works the same way for TE it drives up expenses and increases the total part time hours that can have effect on ACA calculations of part time status. As an employer I can understand the rules…. I just hope that there was a discussion with the employees explaining the rationale and not just this letter.

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    Middle school aide Reply:

    AHHHH. Pete they just saved money off us aids by not paying us for those days not being made up!!!!!

    I mean a lot of money!!!

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Absolutely — not having to pay the aides/paras/substitute teachers for all the missed days for snow saved the District lots of money!!

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    Middle school aide Reply:

    And also if the public wants to be bothered by spending they should be bothered by teachers with over 10 in-service days and you are paying for it.
    The low payed aides are not involved in that/

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    Ray Clarke Reply:

    Pete: I think your last comment is right on. What is the context? It’s a natural human reaction to be startled and upset by rules coming out of the blue, and management should be prepared to have an honest dialog. As they should about issues like fairly aligning clock-out times with the school day, mentioned elsewhere here.

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    How about an explanation of the policy to the residents? How about an explanation of the policy to the parents and their special needs children? Don’t the people most affected have the right to know of this management decision?

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    Aide Reply:

    I am an aide… and I think this is being blown way out of proportion…

    When I was hired, they said that with the Kronos system that is used for clocking in and out that there is a seven minute window (both before and after) your scheduled start and finish times. The school secretary has to monitor this system and any time you do not clock in or out within your window, it puts out a notification and does not the payroll process for that pay period finalize until all of those notifications are justified/verified. This is not new news… all employees are explained this the moment they are hired. Why is this a big deal?

    Why is it a big deal to point out that even though there is a window that you should be at work ready to work at the start of your shift and should leave when your shift is over.

    The issue is that many people took advantage of this system and we consistently clocking in after their start time and even after the seven minute window. Also, many people are waiting by the Kronos machine to clock out as soon as they can.

    Yes, most aides arrive early and work their full day as scheduled, but some don’t and obviously it was an issue. I am sure those people were addressed individually, but what’s the issue with sending a reminder/notice to the whole group of employees. This happens in all jobs and careers… some policy/rule is not being followed and a notice is sent out reminding people of what’s expected.

    I usually side with the aides/paras on most of these issues, but this is just bitching to bitch… any chance to throw the higher ups under the bus is being thrown out to the public. Enough of the petty crap already…

  3. Thanks Patty for posting this. Most aides I spoke to found the memo from Ms Tiede disrespectful and ignorant of what their jobs entail, rather than intimidating. The aides of this district are extremely responsible and honest people. The implication that they would willfully cheat on their time is insulting, in fact all of them said they regularly work extra time even though they know it will not be paid. I think some of this is that the district needs to justify the $1,547 they spend on the Kronos system every month. Having to pay a secretary to adjust the timeclock data so the system doesn’t automatically pay them for their real time is just too much! And may incur penalties when the ACA is finally put into effect.

    The way this district seems to be going- along the same road as Great Valley- to outsource all aides is also obvious (we already pay Delta T $108,000/month (Dec 2013)). We will probably end up in the same place they did too — the outsourced aides were of such poor quality that they resumed hiring the aides through the district so they could control the qualifications for these positions. The aides spend the most time of any public officials with our Special Ed students. Their expertise, education, and temperament reflect directly on the services they provide to their assigned students. However, since the opportunity to unionize like the surrounding districts was passed by so many years ago, they have been at the bottom of the heap as far as respect and appreciation. There is a lot of talking about how the schools could never perform the services required by law without them, but precious little in the way of material actions. The regular teachers as well as the Special Ed teachers all recognize their value and are grateful for the presence of our aides. Too bad the board does not act like they do too.
    A few calculations based on the administration salaries and the bonuses and raises given to THEM for the last 5 years readily indicates there has been plenty of money around to give aides (typical yearly earnings $15,000) yearly cost of living raises, instead of nothing for 4 years and 1% last year. Not to mention the multimillion (over 3 ) surpluses the district had had for each of the last two years.
    The board may think they are saving money with outsourcing, but as Great Valley found out already, it is not worth it, and the students, parents, aides and teachers all will suffer while they figure it out.
    The aides should pursue joining TENIG for their good and the good of the members of the district.

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  4. unionize.. get the leaders in… start the process.

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    Sidelines Reply:

    what a good idea marg….keep a decent job or lose it. aides are not federally mandated….
    reading mail to employees kind of falls in the “micro managing” realm….and you wonder why there is a rumor that the district is avoiding hiring locals….

    the indignation here is not worthy of anyone. if you don’t like your job, change your job. if you don’t like your employer, change your employer. the letter was curt to be sure, but you have no idea what prompted it, nor is it any concern of a taxpayer. i’ll take a bashing for this opinion, but seriously — go volunteer your time somewhere…once upon a time, that’s what aide work was….and clocking in and out in a non-punctual manner is not professional….

    so what’s the problem? if you aren’t guilty, this letter was not meant for you.

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    S/L — so you see nothing wrong with the 7-minute clock-out? If your an aide/para and don’t like the rule, you should just quit. Yep, that’s exactly what the administration and school board is counting on — less District employees and more opportunity to outsource the jobs.

    Rather than risk termination, an aide is forced to punch the time clock within the 7 min. window. If I was the parent of a special needs child who gets left unattended as a result of this action, I’d be more a little upset.

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    Shining Light Reply:

    Side,

    “so what’s the problem”

    The problem is PSER’s costs are rising 21.4% this year, 28.84% next year and 29.2% the year after.

    The administration, (and therefore the board) are targeting the lowest paid workers as a way to solve this problem. (and they’re not being nice, or decent or respectful about it) We cannot balance the budget off of the lowest paid workers.

    As you so correctly stated:

    “Here’s the deal. Instead of cutting people, this board should look into unilateral reduction of benefits and make them available to everyone.”

    Side, why do you think think the board is not doing this right now? And why do you think they have not tapped the fund balance? And why do they keep raising our taxes when a unilateral reduction of benefits along with some help from the fund balance would solve this problem in an instant.

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    Middle school aide Reply:

    It is about tone. And/obviously you are not getting that the aides like their jobs and don’t want to go anywhere but the hirer ups are stepping on the enthusiasem.
    Also…You make it sound like just snap your fingers and find a job. Not so.
    So what you are saying is…shut up…keep being treated like this.

    Here is an example for you. Say someone steals at your job.
    So just because someone steals they decide to check your pocketbook and or pockets everyday. Everyone. It is demeaning…in your head you know it is but you know if you quit that is what they want so they can replace you with a temp service. So you take and then next week they do something else.

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  5. I thought that the Dr. Waters hired a new personel director because Mrs. Tiede retired from the District. It that is the case why is she continuing to send correspondence to employees.

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    If I recall correctly, Sue Tiede’s retirement is next month (March). At the November 25, 2013 School Board meeting, the school board approved the appointment of Jeanne Pocalyko as Director of Personnel. According to the Nov. 25 school board minutes, Ms. Pocalyko was to assume her position on or prior to January 27, 2014. Isn’t that interesting — the letter from Sue Tiede dated January 31, 2014 lists Tiede as Director of Personnel. What are we doing here — taxpayers paying for two Directors of Personnel. Tiede’s salary is $177K and Pocalyko was approved to receive annual salary of $167K. I guess we’re currently paying for two personnel directors until Tiede’s retirement next month. I’d like to know what Tiede was sending out this directive to the aides and paras on January 31 if Pocalyko was already being paid as the personnel director!

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  6. despite the tone of the letter, this is not an unusual policy. I’ve worked at two places that have had the exact same rule with similar consequences. If you signed out late you needed to document exactly what you were doing and why. People would deliberately wait to clock out after the 7th minute, while doing nothing, just to clock out late. Over a period of a year, the employee would do this dozens of times and rack up hours of overtime pay for doing nothing.

    As tax payers we should want to pay people for their time, and ensure they are using their time appropriately. wasting taxpayer money by cheating the system is not anything we should want. If that is what is happening, then I have no problem with the rule. If there has been no documented problems, and it’s grandstanding and being done for spite, then it’s not appropriate.

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    CP Reply:

    You bring balance to this discussion. There are two ways to look at the message sent by Sue Tiede – employees being late for work vs. people staying on the job over the approved time. Sue mentions that overtime must have prior approval. This is appropriate if pay for overtime is expected. Supervisors need to set policy for approvals in unusual circumstance. Aides need to raise up issues if assisting their students keeps them from clocking out within the specified time.

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    Shining Light Reply:

    I would wager there was alot of unanticipated overtime recognized after putting these clocks in. The district was benefiting from the extra hard work, they didn’t know it and now since the clocks tell the truth, “overtime has to be approved by Sue”

    I agree that supervisors need to set policy for approvals, but I also think supervisors should know what is happening in the schools and with the employees and the only way they can do this is by coming in for a visit every now and then.

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    anon aide Reply:

    Just to get this clear and on the record — if an aide clocks out late or in early, they ARE NOT PAID FOR THE EXTRA TIME. As an aide you are given a certain number of hours that you will be paid for per day at the beginning of the year. That is all you will get paid for. However if you clock in late and/or clock out early you WILL get your pay DOCKED. But to be sure the system works , there is a secretary that has to change the clock in and out times to keep the system working.

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Are you saying that the ‘clocking in and out times’ are geeting manually CHANGED by another District employee???

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    Aide Reply:

    Almost every business that has a clock in clock out computer system has this window. In both of my previous jobs, the process and expectations were the same. This isn’t new… it was implemented the moment they started using Kronos.

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  7. Schools are not businesses and should not be run as if they were. Students are not machines or software. They are living and breathing individuals and each comes to school with a unique personal history and personality. Employees are paid to listen to you, students are not. Employees are selected based upon an interview process. Teachers do not select their students. And insubordinate employee can be fired. An insubordinate student is another challenge for a classroom teacher and or aide.

    Supt.’s are called CEO’s and parents and children are called customers. None are either and it distorts the mission of education. Businesses generate revenue from goods and services produced. If their ingredients are inferior, they send them back. Schools have to educate all children with the resources they are given by the community. Schools can’t control their ingredients.

    Schools are not factories. This letter is better suited for factory workers after a respectful discussion with the employees explaining the rationale behind it.

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    CP Reply:

    Sue Tiede’s memo addresses accountability to the rules. It lacks a reason “why”, but nonetheless, it lets hourly employees know exactly what is expected. No one in the community wants to support employees who consistently come to work late or leave early. The terms of Sue’s memo addresses the consequences. As a tax payer, the school district’s budget is of concern to me. I am all for paying a fair price for a needed service. Requiring prior approval for overtime is normal. I am a contract employee and operate under the same assumption. When I know I’ll be logging more than 40 hours in a week I have a discussion with my manager to ensure it will be approved.

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    Shining Light Reply:

    As a tax payer, the school district’s budget is of concern to me too. And I am all for paying a fair price for a needed service, just like you. I don’t mind prior approval for overtime. If we’re going to run this part of the district’s budget like a business though down to the last penny for aides and paras who have already taken deep cuts, how about we run the rest of the parts of the budget like a business too. I’m all for that.

    Otherwise, comparing school districts to businesses is like comparing apples and oranges.

    Schools are tax payer funded and so parents and tax payers should have heavy input into how the school is run. Businesses are not democratic institutions. Schools should be.

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    Debbie Watson Reply:

    Shining, I totally agree with you that schools are not businesses and should not be run as such. Therefore, in my opinion, we DO NOT need a Business Manager. I think the position is an unnecessary and expensive one. If the projections he provided were 100% accurate, then it might be a consideration, but they are often off the mark. I think the problems in our district began when it started being “run” like a business instead of a school. The philosophy changed and also the mentality of people that were hired to fill high ranking positions. For those of you that grew up going to TE Schools or now have grown children that went to TE Schools, think of the building principals we used to have compared to those that we have now. I’m not saying that they aren’t good people doing good work-it’s just a totally different atmosphere. Personally, I liked the old way better.

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    Shining Light Reply:

    From 1970 to 2010, student enrollment increased by a modest 7.8%, the number of teachers increased by 60% while administrative staff increased by a whopping 138%. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that there has been a remarkable shift in power to administrators in public education and especially in higher education in the last 2 decades too. Administrator growth and administrator pay and benefits have been sited as the reason for skyrocketing college fees in the last 20 years.

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    margaritiaville Reply:

    Shining, I am thinking, assuming the numbers you say are correct, that some of the increase in teachers, and admin, disproportionate to say the least vis a vis student enrollment maybe the result of mandates, special ed teachers etc that necessitated increased admin and more teachers.. As I grow older, I find more and more people are in kahoots with more and more people and there is a chain that can be followed, sometimes long and winding that leads to things we question only after the fact.. unfortunately, I do not know who to be in kahoots with… wish i did, and sorry if i spelled it incorrectly.

    Aide Reply:

    As far as more teachers… lets not forget that is in large part due to the fact the changes in “class sizes”. Thank goodness people realized having 20 kids in a first grade class was much better than 30… If you had 500 kids in a school and the average class size was 30 students, that’s 16.6 teachers… if the average class size is 20, thats 25.0 teachers… thats a big difference for the same number of students…

    Shining Light Reply:

    Mville, According to the Friedman Foundation For Education Choice in an articel released 10/24/2012 titled

    THE SCHOOL STAFFING SURGE: DECADES OF EMPLOYMENT GROWTH IN AMERICA’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS

    such growth cannot be attributed to the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. Pre NCLB teacher and especially administrator personnel numbers increases were significantly higher than student population growth.

    Keith Knauss, School Board Director at U-CF referenced this article in the fall of 2012. It was a controversial conversation causing an ex board member from TE to stop posting on this site. I hope it doesn’t foster the same highly charged emotions but I think it’s worth mentioning.

    The significant increase in personnel numbers is not so much the issue for me as the salary increases for personnel in this segment.

    In justifying a salary increase for his supt.’s already generous salary, Keith Knauss stated on another site that Dan Waters in TE makes over $300,000 per year. I asked for data to substantiate that claim and I’m still waiting for his reply. So it seems to me, Board members site other supt.’s salaries in neighboring districts as justification for raising their supt. already inflated salaries, so supt. salaries continue to inflate.

  8. I do believe that when this was implemented, T/E was dealing with the aftermath of the winter storm. Everyone, employees and students, were dealing with a lot just trying to get to the building (downed wires and trees, non-functioning traffic lights, the drop-off traffic in front of the building). On these unusual days, students are often forgiven for being late due to the circumstances. It would be nice if the aides and paras would receive the same courtesy.

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  9. Teacher, your perspective is valuable. What is your view on this development. You say it would be nice if the aides and paras received the same courtesy as the students.

    I’m curious if the teachers are treated like this (in another way though, one that would fit their circumstance) or if the terms of your employment shield you from this type of communication. What do you think it means (if anything) that the aides and paras received this letter in this way? Have they always been treated this way or is this something new since the ACA issue?

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  10. Did ALL hourly TESD employees get the letter? Spoke with a TENIG member and that person got it. Makes a difference if its all workers or just the aides & paras.

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    CHV, since the letter was addressed to all hourly workers I guess that would include TENIG. I was told by a para that the time clock was put in 2 years ago – not sure whether the system was already in place for TENIG. THere’s also confusion about how the employees heard – some aides received the letter via email a couple of weeks ago but as I said, others were called to the principal office of their school this week and read the letter. Do you know when (and how) the TENIG member received his/her copy.

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    Aide Reply:

    TENIG workers also received this letter… anyone who clocks in and out… full time or part time… if you clock in or out… you got this…

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    Debbie Watson Reply:

    Pattye, everyone who is an hourly employee started with the time clocks at the same time(TENIG, aides,paras) about two years ago. Prior to that, we just had a paper time card that we filled in by hand and our supervisor signed off on it each pay period. At the time the clocks were installed we were told it was supposed to eliminate a lot of paperwork for the payroll department.

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Thanks for clarifying —

  11. Was there abuse that caused the need for this policy. The purpose of time clocks is to (at best) record standard hours in the day or (at worst) punish employees and dehumanize them. Teachers and administrators are not hourly workers so is someone keeping track of their comings and goings.

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    K Walker Reply:

    My question exactly. That letter would not have been sent had everyone worked by the rules. I believe that someone’s abuse of the system generated that letter. Has anyone gotten reprimanded who didn’t deserve to be? My guess would be no.

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  12. My friend was an aide when the time clocks were put in. I remember her saying that she thought the administration was trying to make sure the aides weren’t leaving work early therefore costing the district money. She laughed and said that the clocks would cost the district more, because since no one from the administrative offices ever came over, they had no idea that the aides actually worked way more hours than they were supposed to and they were not paid for these hours but now that there was a time clock installed, the district would know and would have to pay them for all the extra hours they actually worked. She said the aides and paras worked more hours than the teachers too. I have known many aides and paras. They are very hard working, conscientious, educated, smart and above all, they care. It will be tragic if they are outsourced.
    But I think my friend is right. I don’t think people in personnel know this because they aren’t close to the aides and paras.

    As a smart business person I know said:

    The farther the decision maker is from the child, the dumber the decision gets.

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    Deco Girl Reply:

    Pattye-
    I commend and thank you for sharing this memo from Sue Tiede. I am a middle school aide and am deeply saddened, insulted and outraged that we would ever be presented with this. I find it degrading and unnecessary to myself, my friends and fellow paras and aides. If there are, in fact, a few people who are actually “abusing the system” then why not deal with them individually?

    I agree that this letter is also intimidation; to have the threat of losing one’s job because of being one minute late? This is intimidation, not to mention anxiety-producing, unnecessarily punitive, and terrible for morale. And now this, on the heels of the threat of outsourcing all aides and paras last year, (in order to avoid paying fines or having to offer healthcare to us).
    It would be hard to imagine a memo like this ever going out to teachers or administration.

    This is a noble profession and is not an easy job, but for many of us it is a labor of love. As another aide noted above, the compensation that we receive is basically equivalent to volunteering; you certainly cannot live off of it alone. Oftentimes aides and paras must have one (or more) additional jobs or other sources of income just to make ends meet. I would venture to say that an administrator or board member would be hard-pressed to survive on the salary that we receive. That being said, you must truly have a sense of compassion and empathy to do this work. I feel like I am making a difference in a child’s life everyday and for that I am proud.

    I love working with these very special children every day. I consider it a privilege. They are our most vulnerable and wonderful members of society who need our support in multiple ways. Each and every para and aide that I have had the pleasure of working with is a very special person as well. We support each other in any way that we can through the day, every day. We are a community. We are articulate, educated, dedicated and professional human beings. Our children thrive under their care and guidance.

    I have a son who has just entered middle school in this district. Since his days in elementary school, he would come home at times and talk about the aides and paras in his school. He would say what “important” people they were because they helped his classmates with special needs. How is it that a child can see the value in the support that aides and paras give but our own administration cannot?! Clearly the district does not take care of it’s own.

    Why are aides and paras the only ones who have to use the Kronos fingerprinting system? Why not make this across the board? It serves to widen the divide between aides/paras versus the teachers and administration.

    I have never left before my time to “clock out” which is BEFORE the school bell rings at the end of the day (while classes are still in session). I have always put in many extra hours each and every week. We are NOT paid for these extra hours. We provide them because our children need our time. We do not want to clock in overtime nor cheat the system.

    The district will lose qualified and wonderful people if this treatment of the aides and paras continues. And more importantly, the children will lose the support and care that they rely on. I urge the public to see the possible ulterior motives behind this latest move.

    We are human beings and should be treated as such. We should have the same respect that is afforded to the teachers and administration. We have no union. We have little protection. We are vulnerable. Please see the value in what each and every aide and para does for these children. This latest memo merely exacerbates the obvious: We have little value to this administration.

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    As an TESD aide, your insight in this situation is invaluable — thank you for your thoughtful comment!

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    Aide Reply:

    If I came in early… that was my choice… I did what I needed to do and then when it was within my seven minute window… I clocked in.

    At the end of the day, If I still had more stuff to do… I would clock out and then go do it.

    They aren’t telling you to come in and early and leave later… just like they don’t tell teachers to do that… but most people do come in early and stay late… because they choose to do that… they aren’t forced to.

    Middle school aide Reply:

    This is so true. I would always write in 8 hours. However I worked way over 8 2-3 time a week.
    Then KRONOS showed up…my original thought was KRONOS does not think like a modern workplace. And I said this to the front office at the middle school.
    I always work 8 hours, but to be honest..it is hard to get up there with more things to do.
    A couple times I use KRONOS so I do not go over 8, and finish things up…there is always that fear at the school of being in the spotlight. Always better to stay under the radar with Dan and Sue his lackey.

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  13. I find Ms. Tiede’s letter to be insulting. It presupposes that taxpayers are naive enough to be distracted by this effort to take a spoonful of water from a pond and call it meaningful. It also is a fine example of targeting those employees with the least standing, protection and compensation. I believe that any principled principal would recognize it as the very “bullying” that we dedicate countless dollars to recognizing and stamping out in our schools. Meetings, lectures, seminars, symposiums, workshops in order for her umbrella of leadership to look after those that need protection and fairness. To look after the little guy. That’s not a skill for career advancement in the growth industry of public school bureaucracy but it should be a prerequisite for leading those of all ages with integrity.

    As a beneficiary of federal dollars in a country that is becoming increasingly cognizant of the insidious harm and social change brought on by a widening wage gap, Ms. Tiede’s choice is to eliminate the bottom 1% altogether. To have our aides hover around minimum wage as Washington looks to lead by example in treating contract workers better than the minimum wage. Knowing full well that contract/hourly workers are the least likely to have any safety net to provide comfort, dignity and security.

    If they’re not hard working and effective, fire them. That’s called leadership and no parent or taxpayer will quarrel with that. But please don’t take a 180 day a year job and dial that back to a transparently motivated 29 hour week to skirt the laws created by the very federal government that supplements our school budgets to allow teachers and administrators to live relatively comfortable and enriched lives. You’re supposed to see that income gap right under your nose. Shrink it rather than change the denominator. You’re supposed to see who does the most for the least. Take care of the little guy. And create meaningful efficiencies for the public good.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    To look after the little guy. That’s not a skill for career advancement in the growth industry of public school bureaucracy but it should be a prerequisite for leading those of all ages with integrity.

    Amen!

    [Reply]

    margaritiville Reply:

    Skirting the laws? I find that interesting, as we learn more and more about this law, and with continued ad hoc changes and waivers and the deleterious effect it has on the psychology of working, I find your comments curious. I am a staunch supporter of the aides, and have no patience for Waters and especially tiede, and I don’t know how much money comes from the feds, state or local taxes. But with those pots of money, in a reasonably affluent area, I don’t understand why there is this constant threat to the non unionized aides and paras. I equally understand the difficulties imposed by an untenable and poorly thought out brick brat of a law that hopefully will be undone. That has started already.

    Clearly bullies pick on the most vulnerable. Can’t wait for teacher negotiations., lets see how tough the admin and board are going to be.

    [Reply]

    Me Reply:

    Here we go again!
    What have the teachers done wrong here?
    The teachers and aides /paras are on the same side.
    So, margaritaville, I’d love to know, what have the teachers done wrong here?

    [Reply]

    Middle school aide Reply:

    I was told how much Sue gets paid by an aide this week. I was stunned . She has to be the highest paid HR person in the area, paid by you taxpayers.
    And she is getting rid of the lowest paid.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Sue Tiede’s salary is $177K and her replacement Ms. Pocalyko will receive an annual salary of $167K.

    [Reply]

    anon aide Reply:

    A little web research puts the salary of HR Managers anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 per year. And it would seem logical that the higher pay would be for very large corporations with many thousands of employees.
    As it was noted last year, most of our Administrators make more than half of the Governors of the US – who are responsible for MILLIONS of people.

  14. I am a student at Conestoga High School, and I see how hard the aides work at my school. I think that it is unfair and ridiculous that they are being treated this way. They work just as hard, if not harder than many of the teachers at my school, and they should be treated with just as much respect.

    [Reply]

    Shining Light Reply:

    Conestoga High School Student,

    Thank-you for your comment. You, more than anyone on this forum would know best, since you are a witness to the operations of the system every day.

    I know many students who benefit from the services of an aide. Their comments are the same as yours.

    [Reply]

  15. Just because there isn’t a published letter to teachers does not mean that it doesn’t exist, or that it doesn’t happen.
    Let’s not pit aides and paras against teachers. We’re on the same side. Teachers see the value in the aides and paras. Teachers have not done anything wrong to the aides and paras. Please don’t drag teachers into this!

    [Reply]

    Middle school aide Reply:

    I disagree sooooooooooooo much. As the aides were getting eaten up last year, the teachers just said nothing. They were scared of Dan.
    Now they see the Delta T aides around the middle school and schools and they see the quality, and coldness, and still nothing from the teachers.
    Yes we are important , but not enough to stand for. They, like the board and Dan and Sue are just worried about themselves, and their contract.

    [Reply]

    Me Reply:

    We’re going to have to agree to disagree. When the teachers were negotiating their contract, did they expect aides, paras, or anyone else to say anything or get involved? Furthermore, did the aides, paras, or anyone else say anything or get involved? Noone expected them to. Them not doing so was not seen as unsupportive either.
    Let’s not get carried away. You talk about teachers being worried about their own contract . . . there’s nothing wrong with that.
    The teachers have been supportive of aides and paras. But yes, they are worried about their own jobs. How is that wrong of them?

    [Reply]

    Me Reply:

    Middle school aide,
    You brought up that now teachers see the Delta T aides and the quality, coldness, etc . . . Delta T aides have been in this district for several years . . . This is not a new issue this year . . . Also, what exactly do you think teachers should do about this? And how were you supportive of the teachers when they were going through their negotiations? Did you do anything? Or did you “just say nothing”? The funny thing is, you “just saying nothing” would NOT even be considered as unsupportive by the teachers!!!! The teachers do not expect you to say anything. I’m finding it difficult to understand what the teachers have to do with this. These accusations that you’re throwing out do not make sense. Also, how do you know what teachers are or are not saying to their bosses? Just because you don’t know about conversations or letters does not mean that they don’t happen.

    [Reply]

  16. Pattye-

    Once again I want to applaud you for continuing to be a voice for the voiceless as well as providing a platform for us to begin to have this conversation. Unfortunately, many of the aides and paras that I have spoken to are too afraid to speak up for fear of intimidation (yes, a form of bullying) by the administration and of losing their jobs. Again, we have little protection in this regard.

    Noone is trying to pit the aides & paras against the teachers here. The divisive atmosphere set by administration that is the reality in our district unfortunately ensures just that.

    As I live and work in a district that is as well-regarded both regionally and nationally, I find it incomprehensible that the allocation of taxpayer resources is being used to fund the very few at the top of the heap; those who are the least in touch with the very ones they should be protecting: the children and especially those with special needs.

    [Reply]

    Me Reply:

    People are writing comments saying things like “can’t wait to see how negotiations go” etc. That’s not administration setting any kind of tone or atmosphere. That’s an aide dragging teachers into an issue that doesn’t have anything to do with them. An aide on here says that teachers don’t speak up for them. That’s an aide with inappropriate, one-sided expectations.

    [Reply]

    Shining Light Reply:

    Me,

    Aides are in the most vulnerable segment. They don’t have the support or protection of a union. They are not organized and it doesn’t seem to me that they have leadership or that they know what to do. The only thing they do know is that they are being taken advantage of and their jobs as they know them are under threat, and they don’t like it.

    You have a point. However, until now the aides have not needed the support of the teachers, the parents or the citizens. Perhaps now they do.

    [Reply]

    Middle school aide Reply:

    There is only one side and that is Dan’s side.

    [Reply]

    Me Reply:

    Middle school aide,
    What exactly do you want the teachers to do? How do you know that teachers are or are not doing or saying anything?

  17. I can’t wait for the negotiations because I would love to see how the admin tries to push around the teachers union. Thats all. And I don’t know the politics behind the teachers relationship with the aides. Maybe the teachers don’t really care if they are outsourced or not. Maybe they do. Interesting to think that ulitmately it just may affect the teachers working conditions, sooner or later, that is if the aides are outsourced, eventually. Can’t help but think, for better or worse how dictates from the higher level of government has created, in part, this mess.

    [Reply]

    Middle school aide Reply:

    Buzz in the middle school is negotiations are just about over,

    [Reply]

    anon aide Reply:

    You are on to something here Margaritaville, Imagine what happens when, due to outsourcing, a bunch of new people come to work as aides. They need to know all at once about their student, their schedule, where to go (8 periods a day +), how to write up data, how to do Geometry, or Biology or any of dozens of subjects. Right now as the outsourced are trickled in, the veteran aides help them figure it out. If they are no longer there (you cannot predict who the outsourcing company sends you, presumably only the right of refusal is in the contract) it falls to the Special Ed teachers who are already so swamped with paperwork that it takes 50% of the time they theoretically could be spending with students. Now they have to train the rookie aides too. Who falls through the gaping chasms in the system? The very ones least prepared, and the ones we say we are all trying to help – the Special Needs kids. Whomever is running this show should be able to see by now the absurdity of this situation and STEP UP AND FIX IT.

    [Reply]

    Me Reply:

    Teachers do not want aides and paras outsourced. Teachers do not have any say in the decision.

    [Reply]

    Shining Light Reply:

    Everyone has a say in the decision.

    margaritiville Reply:

    well they should unite and say something anyway. They are protected, so their risk of retaliation is nill. They are the top of the educational food chain in the schools. They should grab their cojones and step up and say something. This may seem harsh, but replacing generally college educated semi volunteers with outsourced employees, irrespective of some right of refusal should be fun. Can’t wait to see the gene pool of the contract workers. No offense, but clearly in my prejudiced opinion, the quality of the current crop of mostly college educated aides will suffer. Many of these women are indeed college educated, some are even teachers that left the profession years ago to raise families in this very district. Some retired from other business or professional jobs and are experienced, well read, well spoken and just darn good. So glad my kids are OUT of this district, and I frankly am looking to retirement and moving to where the snow doesn’t fall. This is a microcosm of the work problems generally in our country, and while we are all concerned about the middle class, you can bet outsourced employees will work for less, and have little or no health insurance, the law of unintended or is it intended? consequences is as natural as natural law itself.

    Middle school aide Reply:

    Margaritiville You hit it on the head.

    I wish the public could see the Delta T aides that are in the buildings.
    Cold as ice, no feel for the students needs. You can not replace people who work and live in the district and not only work but care about the students. Delta T=paycheck…and that is all.

    [Reply]

  18. We are fortunate to have some of the most talented and dedicated people to work with our children in this district. Why we wouldn’t treat them with the respect they deserve is beyond me. Don’t we want them to stay? Regardless of how things are done elsewhere, time clocks treat these valued individuals as children and the ridged adhearance to them can have two negative effects. First, workers treated like children often begin to act that way. Second, more talented people are forced into mediocrity (at best). Ultimately the question becomes, how do we WANT them to act and feel?

    [Reply]

  19. So, I certainly haven’t read all of the replies and if someone already mentioned this, I apologize. However, Pattye, with the usual legal expertise that weighs in here I’m surprised that no one has brought this up.

    “Fair Labor Standards Act”
    Non-Exempt rules…

    The phrase you are looking for is “suffer or permit to work”

    If T/E knowingly allows any staff member to “Volunteer” in a position that is reasonably similar to the one they get paid for, the organization is liable for back pay and serious penalties. That’s why companies take this so seriously. This is not an attack on a particular group, this is abiding by long standing laws to protect the worker.

    [Reply]

  20. Only district employed aides must clock in and out. Aides from agencies are not subjected to this new strict policy. They self report their time. If an agency aide is late, nothing happens. Some are late, frequently. Most of them do not reside in the district; whereas, most of those employed by the district do reside in the district and are concerned about our schools and neighbors. This clearly tears at the fabric of our community and causes the fear of outsourcing to be felt again.

    [Reply]

  21. Actually, I was referring to this one,
    “Aide
    February 16th, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    If I came in early… that was my choice… I did what I needed to do and then when it was within my seven minute window… I clocked in.

    At the end of the day, If I still had more stuff to do… I would clock out and then go do it. ”

    My understanding is that this is clearly illegal according to FLSA and the district could be back charged for the time this non-exempt employee worked and was not compensated for plus penalties. While the 7 minute window can be established… the fact that non-exempts are compensated for all hours worked and time and a half is paid for hours worked above 40 in a work week (ex Monday morning to Sunday night) and are law. T/E is ‘suffering or permitting them to work” – that’s why discipline is put in place to stop this practice.

    An Agency Aide (not employed by T/E) is subject to the policies and procedures of their employer. Their policy may be self report rather than a time clock. It is the agency’s responsibility to ensure their workers are reporting correctly or to discipline them according to their policies.

    I’d expect a professional HR manager to ensure that a company is not put in a position of financial liability or risk and to establish progressive discipline procedures to address this, but that’s me.

    [Reply]

    Middle school aide Reply:

    You are so right. However, you have to work there and understand.
    Like I said under the radar. You do not understand. There is no support within the building .
    I talked to an high school aide. She said “you cannot go to the Principles. They right now are so bad. Dan comes first. And last.And if you question, don’t question. Head down. You have not seen anything like this.”

    [Reply]

    Aide Reply:

    I see something completely different, but I am not at the middle school… guess elementary is different.

    [Reply]

    Sidelines Reply:

    Again I will point out — Dr. Waters was never seen in this context UNTIL the board had him sit at the negotiating table at the last teacher negotiation. He and Ms. Tiede were both there — playing the bad guys. It’s why traditional negotiations do NOT include administration….because they need to hold a neutral position and relate to the staff and the board. But the board didn’t see it that way apparently, and we see the outcome.
    I really hope people consider just how the “vibes” have been influenced, and just who is angry. Go back a few years and you will hear NONE of this vitriole against Waters, Tiede or few others.
    And with $100,000,000 budget, I cringe at the notion that the district does not need a business person. ???

    By the way — the email today says the TEEA contract is settled…. and it IS available for people to read it before it’s voted on.

    [Reply]

    Shining Light Reply:

    Dan Waters runs this district. The Board Members who make the decisions, trust him completely. If Dan did not want to be at that negotiating table, he would not have been there. He wanted to be there.

    I see from the contract, the board did not heed your great advice. . “The easiest and best solution would have been to unilaterally reduce benefits, and make them available to everyone so no one in the district would have to get cut.” I wish you were on the board sidelines, you and township reader. I miss that guy. Wonder if he’ll ever come back.

  22. when are waters and tiede leaving?

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Sue Tiede retires next month and Dan Waters contract ends June 2015.

    [Reply]

    Middle school aide Reply:

    Tiede is now staying on for more months. How is this possible? Two people doing this job for this long!
    I cannot figure out why the public is not upset by thi!
    Also shame on the Suburban and the Mainline Times for not going after the board on this.

    [Reply]

    Shining Light Reply:

    MSA, could you provide some data to substantiate that claim. Does anyone know procedure on something like this. Is there procedure? It does seem a bit odd. (and expensive)

  23. dont be late! be careful not to get into an accident for tiede fear of reprisal… this policy is a printed out out out for the good aides…well, the defeat of the work ethic is in progress here in TESD,., if you don’t want to work you don’t have too…

    [Reply]

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