TE School District Avoids ACA Compliance Issue – Reduces Hours and Outsources Aides and Paras

We learned at last night’s school board meeting, that the TE School Board’s way around the Affordable Care Act compliance issue is to reduce employee hours. The ACA does not require the District to provide health insurance to those employees working less than 30 hours a week – so the District’s answer to the Federal law is simple … cut hours of the lowest paid employees.

The District’s quick and dirty solution to avoid ACA compliance issues for 73 full-time District aides and paraeducators is to give them two options – either the full-time employee agrees to work part-time (27 ½ hrs. or less) or they will see their District job outsourced, effective July 1.

Under the leadership of School Board President Kris Graham, the School Board approved the following resolution:

Aides and paras resolution

The Board vote to approve the resolution was 7 – 1.  Republicans Kris Graham, Jim Bruce, Virginia Lastner, Doug Carlson, Peter Motel and Democrats Karen Cruickshank and Kevin Buraks voted in favor of the resolution. Democrat Scott Dorsey opposed the resolution and Republican Liz Mercogliano was recused from voting because her daughter is a part-time aide in the District.  In addition to not voting, Mercogliano was not permitted to comment or ask any questions regarding the Affordable Care Act. Voting is one thing but it is unclear why District solicitor Ken Roos would not permit Mercogliano to ask questions regarding the Affordable Care Act.

The full-time District aides and paras did not receive notice that last night’s school board meeting would include a decision regarding their employment future. Nor was there any attempt to seek public comment or discussion on the ACA compliance issue.  Buried on page 4 of the meeting agenda was the seemingly innocuous ‘ACA Update’.  Other than school board directors and some administrators who would know that ‘ACA Update’ was actually code for outsource the District’s aides and paraeducators.  To be clear, the resolution did not appear in the online agenda materials or on the District website (it was only available to those attending the meeting).

The 73 full-time District aides and paraeducators learned their fate following the Board meeting, through a 10:30 PM email from Personnel Director Jeanne Pocalyko. The aides and the paras must make a decision by May 1 – they can opt to stay a District employee as a part-timer (with reduced hours) or their job is outsourced to an unnamed vendor.  No details about the selection process of a vendor – will the District solicit vendors through an RFP or has the unnamed vendor actually already been decided?

A key component in the computation of PSERS (retirement benefits) is the final average salary of the employee, which is calculated based on an average of earnings during their last three years of employment.  So … say one of these full-time District aides was 57 yrs. old and had planned to retire at age 60. Under the conditions of continued District employment, he or she has a substantial reduction in salary from full-time to part-time status. Because the PSERS calculation of retirement benefits is based on these final three years of employment – with earnings reduced by the District, the employee will see their retirement benefits reduced at time of retirement as a result.

Are there legalities with this resolution – the Board’s decision will affect the future retirement benefits of 73 District employees. Many of the District aides and paras have served the District’s children and their families for years; is this the way the Board rewards their loyalty?

Let’s review – the District can afford administrator bonuses, raises and a Cadillac health plan to the highest paid District employees but rather than provide insurance to the lowest paid employees, the School Board elects to cut the hours of 73 aides and paras, thus reducing their future retirement benefits.**

Ms. Graham’s term on the school board ends in 2015 but she plans to seek reelection.  Will her leadership in the outsourcing of aides and paras influence her endorsement by the Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee?  More importantly, will Graham’s decision to outsource influence voters in November.  The terms of Jim Bruce, Liz Mercogliano and Pete Motel also end in 2015. I know that Bruce will not seek re-election but not certain of the plans of Motel and Mercogliano.

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** According to the PA state retirement system website, the formula for establishing retirement benefits states, “Your final average salary is the highest amount you earned during any “three non-overlapping periods of four consecutive calendar quarters. For most employees, it is the average of your last three years’ salary.”  

The key is that typically the highest paid three years would occur at the end of one’s career.  In the case of the TESD aides and the paraeducators who will go from full-time to part-time hours should they choose to stay employed in the District, their pension will be based on a prior 3-year period.

For further information regarding Pennsylvania state pension, visit the website: http://sers.pa.gov/members-pension-formula.aspx

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48 Comments

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  1. The root of the issue are the poorly conceived requirements of the ACA. This is unfortunate for the district, the employees, and the students.

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  2. So is anyone going to help the quote non professional staff which I always thought was a demeaning term.a. lot of the staff have more degrees than the so called admin.staff. And is anyone. Looking into Art McDonnell situation

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    Pattye Reply:

    Re Art McDonnell — Contrary to what some school directors have been telling members of the public, there was no public announcement at the meeting regarding our business manager, his arrest, sentencing or jail time. No statement from the school board, no statement from the District solicitor. Nothing — its as if it never happened!

    Its amazing how if this happened somewhere else, you know that there would be some kind of statement. The Haverford High School football coach was arrested on DUI, reckless driving, leaving the scene of the accident this past November and the story ran on all the Philly news networks immediately. (Before the case even went to trial!) I’m quite certain that Haverford HS coach isn’t making $185K/yr and handling millions of taxpayer dollars either! Our school board makes the decisions and controls the messages.

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    polerbear Reply:

    So Pattie was Art at the meeting and wonder if he is driving around unless he obtained a special license. His arrest is public record and sentence.

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    Pattye Reply:

    Yes, McDonnell was at the school board meeting — business as usual.

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    tray Reply:

    Maybe it’s about time, that someone gets the news stations involved. If our School district can keep playing dirty with good, hard working peoples jobs and lives..why can’t we? I, as I am sure as many others do, would much rather see Arts $22,000.00 bonus, go to the Aides, paras , kitchen workers, and custodians…who are there in the heart of the schools, working hard and loving their jobs and our children. Why else would they be there? To make the least amount of money? Get threatened of outsourcing every other minute? Lose wages and raises? And this guy can get a DUI….keep his job…and get bonuses? What? What is happening to this District. I wish every parent and tax payer read your blog Pattye…thank you by the way for keeping us informed….but I don’t think enough people read it for this to keep happening. People need to be made aware of all of this on a bigger level. He could of killed one of our children.

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    Investigating Parent Reply:

    What you are saying is, for far too long, public officials and paid officials have abused their office for personal gain. They have regarded taxpayer money as their own and rewarded cronies, while workers, and taxpayers are stuck with the bill. Decisions have been made to benefit the powerful and the connected and the highest paid, while the least paid, but most important, suffer.
     

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  3. Why does the board have such a hard time doing the right thing? If they would just offered the benefits they would be surprised at how many of the full time aides and paras do not need them because they already have benefits through their significant others!
    As for the Art McDonnell issue, I guess it up to the community to get the news out there to the press!!

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    polarbear Reply:

    What idont understand is with all this talk about McDonnell why haven’t the press picked it up. On this blog if it were in thecorporate world or a custodian or. Teacher or police officer it would be all over the news a Dui. Arrest is not private its public information .Especially when a COO of a large school district is arrested.

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  4. According to the TE ActionLine update just received, Mary Minicozzi was “appointed confidential secretary to the business manager”. She leaves behind her TENIG membership and TENIG president title for the greener pastures ($$) as McDonnell’s confidential secretary.

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    tray Reply:

    That’s odd…after she made a decision on her own with no vote from Union members not to let the aids and paras into her Union last year.As well as to so easily let the kitchen workers, secretaries, and custodians lose so much just to keep there jobs, without fighting for them? And now she suddenly gets this great job? Wierd…What is wrong here?

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    Investigating Parent Reply:

    What is the TE ActionLine? Where can I access it? So Mary is now Art’s “confidential secretary…….” For a title and money………..nice. Congratulations Mary! Hope that feels good for you.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    Here’s the link to the District ActionLine:
    http://www.tesd.net/cms/lib/PA01001259/Centricity/Domain/56/020315%20ActionLine.pdf

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    Center vile Reply:

    Mary was promised that position on the terms of selling out the Aides basically refusing them union membership! That’s how things get done there

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  5. You say that 73 full-time District aides and paraeducators will be affected. I heard that there are more than 73 aides and paraeducators working in TESD. What is their status? How many of these 73 could retire, take their state pension and then work for the vendor full time? I know of a lot of teachers that have done that sort of thing.

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    Pattye Reply:

    There are 73 full-time District aides and paras that are affected by the action. Those District aides and paras that currently work 27-1/2 hrs. or less are already considered part-time and are not affected. I do not know the current number of part-time aides and paras. There is no public information as to how many of the District’s 73 full-time aides and paras meet the qualifications for retirement. According to the resolution, there will be no ‘new’ District hires of aides and paras — all new aides and paras working in the District will come from the outsourcing company.

    [Reply]

    Ray Clarke Reply:

    Aide/Para numbers from last night, if I recorded them correctly:

    Subcontracted: 76 (“top aides”)
    TESD employees: 180
    – of which, greater than 27.5 hours: 73

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  6. having been a former employee of the district. I have seen thefts from the outsourced custodial staff that work in the summer, to supplement our staff. with no background checks. they were allowed to be in the area of our summer students. And they also were involved in a situation with summer students. which I cant mentione at this time.For the sake of our students, please parents get on the horn, let the press know, for the safety of the district. also having Art Mcdonnell security person, what background does he have in that. none that I know. wake up parents for the safety of our kids. get to the please. Teao was dumped by their president. for a better job, and a spy for McDonnell. how can she walk in this community.

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  7. ESD School Board Meeting, March 18, 2013
    Mary Minicozzi, TENIG President
    Statement

    My name is Mary Minicozzi and I am the new TENIG President. I am a taxpayer and a parent of 3 children that graduated from Conestoga High School. I would like to speak today regarding outsourcing the TENIG Employees.

    TENIG employees consist of custodians, maintenance, secretaries, cafeteria and security staff. There are more than 150 TENIG employees and all of us will be fired when you outsource our jobs. Our families, our children and our livelihoods will all be adversely affected by your decision. Please take a moment and think about the 100’s of people your decision will hurt. And nearly all of these people, like me, have lived in T/E their entire lives and their kids live here, their parents live here and all of us contribute to make this community the great place it is.

    Outsourcing for the T/E Schools is flat out dangerous. How can you justify bringing strangers into our schools to watch over our children, support our teachers and advocate for parents. While we are trying to secure the outside of our buildings, with security cameras and ballistic film on our windows, we are considering putting strangers inside our schools.

    The students lives are worth much, much more than that. Actually a child’s safety and a parent’s piece of mind are priceless. It is a fact that outside corporation’s highest priority is making money. They are not in the business of protecting our precious children. Please reconsider this dangerous method of cutting cost.

    I would like to end with an experience I had several years ago when I was an elementary school secretary.

    We had a fire in our Art classroom. The fire alarm went off. The Art teacher called me to tell me the kiln was on fire. I made an announcement to evacuate the building. I called 911 and notified the custodian who immediately went to the Art classroom to put out the fire.

    After calling 911, I called Dr. Waters. Within 3 minutes, maintenance workers from the District were at the school. There was no principal in the building at the time of the fire. I was responsible until administration arrived at the school. My utmost priority was keeping your children safe. Maintenance workers surrounded the building checking every area in the school to make sure all children were safely out of the building.

    I never left the building! I stayed by the phone and answered every parent phone call. Parents were so concerned and I was there for them to let them know their children were safe.

    As you can tell by the story I just told: It was the Custodian, The Maintenance Worker and the Secretary (ALL TENIG EMPLOYEES) who alongside our teachers ensured all your children were safe.

    Do you think this same scenario would have occurred if these positions were outsourced? We are a critical piece to this wonderful school District. I am so very proud of that, my colleagues are proud of that and parents and community members talk with pride about T/E schools.

    Are you prepared to look into our parents eyes and say, I promise you, I guarantee you safety will be exactly the same after you outsource TENIG.

    In the past 3 years, TENIG has worked to help the District save money (even though that savings was the paid out to other employees in bonuses and pay raises. We have sacrificed to keep our jobs and keep our schools secure. Despite the sacrifices we have made in support of our fantastic district, we are now being threatened with being fired.

    I hope that each school board member will seriously do their due diligence and consider the hundreds and hundreds of families that will be affected by your decisions.

    Thank You.

    ———————————————————————————————-
    A letter from Mary Minicozzi, before she agreed to a $3M pay cut for TENIG, before the aides and paras were denied membership into TENIG and before she became a confidential secretary to the Business Manager, Art McDonnell.

    At the very least it gives the appearance of impropriety. Public confidence in the school system is eroded by improper and irresponsible conduct. Public and paid officials must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety. This applies to both professional and personal conduct. They are under constant public scrutiny. It comes with the job and they must expect it. There are restrictions that are applied to these employees that an ordinary citizen is not subject to.

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  8. What really disappoints me here, as well as the outcome, is the poor quality of the District’s analysis and its communication. This late night vote with no notice has all the hallmarks of the infamous 2005 midnight pay raises that the PA legislature gave itself. No wonder the comments here have the tone they do.

    It should be noted that this Board vote was explicitly stated to be a “financial decision” to “balance the budget”, when we had just sat through a reiteration of the basis for the Preliminary Budget, which is NOT balanced, and contains hundreds of thousands of dollar of fees (capitalized and operating) to investment bankers for a bond issue that is not needed and to architectural consultants for implementing a capital spending plan that is treated like an inviolable 11th Commandment. Not to mention the $750,000 to $1,000,000 of annual interest for $18 to $24 million of borrowing that could be mostly funded from taxpayer money already appropriated into the General Fund.

    I encourage anyone with an interest to watch the video of the presentation of the “ACA Update” from last night’s meeting and try to make head or tail of it. Each Board member (except for the excommunicated Ms. Mercogliano) talked to one of the slides (except for the one that could not be found) and we were left trying to sort between the unrelated statements and the words on the slides. Of course there were no numbers on the slides – those had to be teased out from the discussion. There was never a clear presentation of each possible option, the assumptions underlying the analysis of the option and its financial impact. I wrote down numbers like expenses of $1.3 million and $3.2 million, but I couldn’t keep track of what those referred to. And President Kris Graham is now in charge of the Communication Committee?

    I got no sense that anyone had looked at this issue on the level of the 73 individuals who are going to be so profoundly affected. What is the status of these folks: how close to retirement, how likely to take up district provided healthcare, what typical turnover rate, what family status? I don’t need to know that info, but I’d like to think that the district could use it to model a realistic estimate of the healthcare expense and its decay rate. As opposed to the MAXIMUM cost that Art McDonnell acknowledged he used. The Reverend Dorsey was scolded for his idea to use the Fund Balance for the expense – “it will never go away”. Well, not so. And what’s wrong with testing the model like that for a year or two? (I am assuming here that all NEW full time hires will be outsourced).

    There’s so much more to say, but that’s it for now.

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    tray Reply:

    “Balance the budget”…very simple..cut bonuses for the supervisors for a few years. Just like they did to the heart and sole of the school district employees. They don’t need it and half the time don’t deserve it. They took nickels and dimes away from the people who need those nickels and dimes..without a thought in the world. It’s quite simple either cut their six figure salaries or stop giving bonuses..that would save a ton of money…for gods sake it is a school district. The children should be our main focus….and the people that keep getting hurt over and over again are the people that are truly there for our children. Stop rewarding the wrong people. Or should I say we need to stop letting them reward each other!

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    Shining Light Reply:

    encourage anyone with an interest to watch the video of the presentation of the “ACA Update” from last night’s meeting and try to make head or tail of it. Each Board member (except for the excommunicated Ms. Mercogliano) talked to one of the slides (except for the one that could not be found) and we were left trying to sort between the unrelated statements and the words on the slides. Of course there were no numbers on the slides – those had to be teased out from the discussion.
    ————————————————————————————————
    It sounds like the board fails to perform it’s duty of inquiry. It sounds like they have no idea what they’re talking about. Their trust in Mr. McDonnell prevents them from pushing hard enough to get deep answers and they have consistently chosen not to engage the community. Is it true what TE Family says? Are they cowards? Do they not care? Do they not have the time to devote to understanding the budget?

    This report should shock and anger taxpayers. It is out of line with reason and reality. The public is intentionally being kept in the dark. “The full-time District aides and paras did not receive notice that last night’s school board meeting would include a decision regarding their employment future. Nor was there any attempt to seek public comment or discussion on the ACA compliance issue. Buried on page 4 of the meeting agenda was the seemingly innocuous ‘ACA Update’. Other than school board directors and some administrators who would know that ‘ACA Update’ was actually code for outsource the District’s aides and paraeducators. To be clear, the resolution did not appear in the online agenda materials or on the District website (it was only available to those attending the meeting).”

    This is a group of people who function like an exclusive club, whose membership is tightly controlled instead of a group of elected officials who invite people they are supposed to represent to converse with them about the operations of the public schools.

    [Reply]

  9. Seems like a hard decision that had to be made. Not everything is a conspiracy guys. From what i remember PSERS is a percentage of your 3 highest years not the last 3. It is also my understanding that the aides have the choice to leave and join the outsourcing companies work force with some sort of monetary bonus, that could be a pretty sweet deal if it works out in your favor. Thanks for the updates I just sometimes wish this reporting were a little less yellow.

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  10. Tray,

    You are right. Their pay is out of line with reason and reality. Workers are losing jobs, taking pay cuts, losing benefits and they are raking in outrageous salaries and benefits and pensions that people in the private sector, who pay for it, will never see. And the $22,000 raise and 5 year contract (who gets a 5 year contract?) granted to Mr. McDonnell, on top of his already inflated salary, no questions asked, less than a year ago, is especially troubling.

    And as an ex-board member said:

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

    That would take care of the problem in an instant.

    The board allows itself to be marginalized by not demanding thorough information. The Board allows citizens like Ray to be marginalized by not creating an environment of accountability and transparency.

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  11. Well it finally happened. Can’t say that I’m surprised. I hope that Mary got a big, big raise because she just sold her soul. I’m sorry for the 73 of you that are faced with this no-win situation. Hopefully wherever you employed next will treat you with the respect you deserve.

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  12. Speaking of Mary’s big, big raise. Does anyone know just how much her pay was increased? What is the jump from a purchasing agent to a “confidential secretary” to Mr. McDonnell? It’s got to be big because Art makes $185,000 not including bonuses, benefits and pensions costs. All that would push him to at least $225,000. Ray, can you help me out here?

    Also, I saw (hidden and slipped in a consent agenda, I believe) that the new curriculum director will receive $160,000 per year not including bonus, benefits and pension. $160,000 must be the base pay for administrators in the TEAO now, because that’s the number Rich Gusick asked the finance committee to commit to two new hires. One of these positions requires the employee to teach students how to use computers. Ray explained what a starting salary of $160,000 really means when bonuses, benefits and pensions are factored in, on an earlier post. And when these employees stand before the board in a year or two and ask for $22,000 raises, because we know that will happen, how will that affect tax increases for residents?

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  13. Mary Minicozzi received a $6,000 raise in her new position! I guess that’s the going rate for a sell out!!

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    Unhappy Resident Reply:

    According to the agenda, she will be making $63,900. I believe I read the current secretary is making about $56,000. And she not only sold out the Aides, but TENIG as well. When the custodians, cafeteria staff, security and secretaries took a pay cut due to her extremely fast negotiations, people were talking that she did that because she was promised a job with a salary and a pay raise.

    [Reply]

  14. The District through attrition over the next few years, will eventually end up with an entirely different caliber of Aide. Dan Waters is a skilled and masterful manipulator and used Mary to accomplish this goal when she “suddenly” said she would not let them join TENIG. Mary sold out and just got her EXPECTED payday. To Mary, every child affected by an outsourced Aides, God forbid, never harmed, high turnover and therefore inconsistency to our students, every employee who struggles to contribute to their family and is now being denied healthcare and now reduced hours and pay, from this moment forward is 100% entirely blood on your hands Mary. Same to our Board who didn’t do the right thing for the students, the loyal, and ridiculously over qualified and dedicated Aides who give well beyond their paycheck everyday. Shame on you all.

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    Investigating Parent Reply:

    There is nothing skillful or masterful about Dan Waters. His actions are very transparent. He simply has a Board that stands behind everything he does. There’s a big difference.

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  15. So, a couple of other points from the meeting. Apparently there is no net impact on the District, so the 73 full time aides and paras are the ONLY constituency bearing the ACA compliance cost. Those who choose to stay with TESD will have fewer hours and less income; those who move to the outsourcing company will have “similar” wage compensation and “availability” of a retirement savings program with “flexible individual contributions”. To offset their loss, the District mentioned (but did not include in its vote) the idea of paying a one-time $2,000 retention bonus to those who transition to the outside supplier and remain employed for a year.

    The idea of a bonus to ease a reduction in compensation is not a bad one. How about also offering one to those for whom the calculus is different and choose to stay with the district at lower income? Maybe my comment to that effect in the meeting got it wrong, though – the vendor is going to be asked to provide the bonus? I wonder how much discussion has been going on with selected vendors to estimate their willingness to comply with the conditions promised to the outsourced staff?

    There was also reference to a similar ACA compliance problem with other non-healthcare-covered employees like sports coaches. There was however no mention in the resolution of how these individuals will be treated.

    Mention of that bonus prompts a thought about the nation’s broader problem. $2,000 is simply a routine 1-2% annual raise for all those teachers and $160,000 administrators with PSERS/healthcare/sick day/personal days at the top of the scale. For an aide working 8 hours a day for 181 days at $13/hour, it’s 10%. Why do organizations persist in thinking it’s OK to give the same percentage raises regardless of where staff are on the pay scale? The natural outcome of capitalism is not a robust middle class, notwithstanding current political fashion. It would be nice to think that at a local level we could be taking small steps to make the playing field more fair.

    It seems to me that a leadership vacuum is contributing to the shallow analysis, inept communication and employee concerns being displayed at TESD. There are huge challenges in maintaining a vibrant educational program within the district’s revenue constraints. It needs a respected, smart, knowledgeable, open-minded leader to step up and drive intelligent trade-offs. Is it time for Dr. Gusick to make his presence felt?

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    Ray, I am confused. I thought that it was the District that was paying the $2K retention bonus to the aides/paras not the vendor. How can the District force a vendor to pay the $2K retention bonus to these employees? Also, this assumes that the outsourcing vendor would place the TE aides and paras back in the District — what happens if the outsourcing company assigns them to a non-TESD location? Does that mean they forfeit this bonus? This is all very confusing.

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    Neal Colligan Reply:

    You’re touching on a potential good idea here. Now that the decision has been made (and it’s really the second or third time the Board has elected to outsourcing this group of employees…the implementation was delayed both times as the ACA’s Employer Mandate was pushed back)…why not work an outsource solution for these affected employees? Work with the outsource supplier to offer these employees their same jobs in the same schools they have been working in; set their new pay rate and new benefits and give them the choice to keep hours (at the outsource firm) or accept reduced hours (remaining a District employee). That can’t take long to figure out and it’s the right thing to do….

    It is a shame the way this decision came down. Besides stifling one of their own Board members who may have been critical of the plan, the “notice” of this item seemed to be structured is a way to limit community/affected employee discussion. Based on the level of “discussion” that occurred the previous times the Board made this outsource decision, it obvious that their strategy this time around was to avoid giving full notice of this item:

    Buried on page 4 of the meeting agenda was the seemingly innocuous ‘ACA Update’. Other than school board directors and some administrators who would know that ‘ACA Update’ was actually code for outsource the District’s aides and paraeducators. To be clear, the resolution did not appear in the online agenda materials or on the District website (it was only available to those attending the meeting).

    I do have a question on Recusal….I’ve only seen that used as a self-imposed action. Never read about a forced Recusal and a recusal from the discussion of the topic at hand (from the vote certainly). Maybe Keith K. can help me understand this one…..

    [Reply]

    Shining Light Reply:

    I know Monthly Board Meetings are televised. Until I feel comfortable enough to be recorded on T.V., during the public comment time, I will not go. I was told by a Board Member elected last November that Committee Meetings are where the meat of issues are discussed and where decisions are made. By the time a topic reaches the monthly Board Meeting, Directors are casting votes on decisions that have already been made on issues that have already been discussed in committee. The problem with this issue is that it wasn’t even discussed in committee, much less the monthly Board Meeting. It was intentionally buried on page 4 of the agenda under a benign topic heading giving the appearance of a courtesy 5 minute update, and intentionally discussed at the end of a very long meeting when most community members had gone home in order to vote on the decision that was already made when no one was there to object. Decisions of this magnitude, negatively affecting this many people, should not be conducted in closed or executive committee where the public cannot participate.

    Get the vote out next November.

    [Reply]

    Shining Light Reply:

    Neal,

    I don’t understand the forced Recusation either. Especially since Kevin Buraks law firm has or had a contract with the district and I don’t ever recall the lawyer forcing Kevin to recuse himself. What is the difference?

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    Steven Bradley Reply:

    The definition of recuse is “to remove (oneself) from participation to avoid a conflict of interest”. What leads to this statement since I don’t see anything that points to the lawyer forcing anyone to do anything and how could he. Unless someone knows more than they are saying.

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    Neal Colligan Reply:

    It was clear on the video. The solicitor had a Recusal letter ready to be signed by the Board member in question. She was recused from the vote AND not allowed to participate in the discussion. Very odd…wonder if she was allowed to participate in the closed Exec Meetings. They announced they held 5 such meetings on this topic.

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    Pattye Reply:

    Why would the TE School Board hold 5 executive session meetings on the ACA and never include the residents in the discussion?

    [Reply]

    Shining Light Reply:

    Democrat Scott Dorsey opposed the resolution and Republican Liz Mercogliano was recused from voting because her daughter is a part-time aide in the District. In addition to not voting, Mercogliano was not permitted to comment or ask any questions regarding the Affordable Care Act. Voting is one thing but it is unclear why District solicitor Ken Roos would not permit Mercogliano to ask questions regarding the Affordable Care Act.

    ————————————————————————————————-

    I’m assuming Ms. Mercogliano was forcibly recused from voting by the lawyer, Ken Roos, because her daughter’s employment as an aide may be seen by him as a reason that her vote may be bias toward keeping the aides as employees of the district as opposed to eliminating their jobs by bringing in an outsourcing company.

    Following that logic, how can Kevin Buraks cast an unbiased vote on any issue if in fact his law firm has a contract with the school district? Seems to me this is a direct conflict of interest. Why doesn’t the lawyer, Ken Roos, forcibly recuse Kevin Buraks from voting?

    Thank-you to Scott Dorsey for having the courage and conviction to stand alone and do the right thing by voting no to this resolution.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    It should be noted that Ms. Mercogliano’s daughter is a PART-TIME District aide and would not have been affected one way or the other by this school board director’s vote. THerefore, in my opinion, Ms. Mercogliano’s recusal was unnecessary. Recusal aside, it certainly should not have affected Ms. Mercogliano’s ability to comment and/or ask questions regarding ACA. Yet it did!

    [Reply]

    Neal Colligan Reply:

    I’m almost positive Mr. Buraks recused himself from the vote on his Law Firm gaining a District contract. He was allowed into the discussions both in committee (Finance) and at the Board level however…according to the records/minutes. I’ve never seen or heard about a required recusal…

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  16. Who has the actual proof Mary was promised a new job if she sold out the aides after all of her hard work? Do you remember when Mary was abruptly moved from her job as head school secretary? She was the life line as secretary. She defended children over anyone and any staff member. She knew the truth and the abuse and foul at her own school and her speaking her mind cost her the one job she was excellent at. For that she was put in a corner.

    The lies and secrets the school board know about could shock everyone in this community. Yet you are here throwing dirt over someone who was thrown in a cube and told to keep quiet? She fought for the aides, why? Wasn’t she one at one time? She fought for the custodial staff and took a pay cut? So easy to throw dirt around someone who may be worthy of a promotion? The treatment of the aides in this district is sickening. The kids who need help the most have the best out there. It’s all about money. How about stop giving a bonus to administration. How about putting kids first. How about people knowing the truth before you cast some shade. Know your facts people.

    Why can’t we keep our teachers happy? Where is the morale boosting? It’s time to call out the real people here before stirring up bull.

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    Shining Light Reply:

    Jen,

    No one needs to produce proof Mary was promised a new job for forsaking the aides and paras and no one is claiming Mary isn’t a hard worker, or that she doesn’t care about the students or that she wasn’t abruptly moved form her job a s a secretary. This has nothing to do with the happiness of the teachers or morale boosting responsibility. This has to do with the fact that Mary took a job alongside the very people who made the decision to outsource people who were asking to fall under the umbrella of the TENIG union when she was President of TENIG. If she supported the aides, why aren’t the aides members of TENIG right now? The timing on her promotion to her new job along with the vote on Tuesday night to outsource the aides, with no public discussion, and no notice to the aides, gives the appearance of impropriety. She is a paid public official, just as Art McDonnell is a (highly) paid public official and both should be held to a higher standard of conduct.

    You say, “know your facts, people” please give us the facts, Jen., Please clear this up.

    Thank-you.

    Get your vote out in November.

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  17. This actionwas not “communicating with the community”.. it was one line stuck under the consent agenda listed as “ACA Update “..I thought it was going to be some new information on the topic. Suddenly it became a board discussion with slides and the final vote. The formal notice/handout was passed out during the discussion ..15 minutes before the aides & paras were notified by email. . ALL this came at the end of a two and a half hour meeting with about 3 or 4 members of the community present. Something this important should have been a PRIORITY Discussion with public notice.

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  18. This has nothing to do with the effects of the ACA and everything to do with the way the district has chosen to respond to it. It didn’t have to be this way and it defies logic, reason and common sense that those in the ruling party would cast their vote to eliminate an entire segment of valued employees, who make the least in wages, under the explanation that it is in response to the ACA, while at the very same time, they continue to grant more to those who make the most. They want to give the impression that this is the only solution. It is not, They know it and it is truly shameful.

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  19. I agree it is shameful, instead of coming up with a viable plan they run like rabbits down the rabbit whole because they are not capable of handling the job, so instead of admitting that they are inept they just ruin, cut up people’s live’s, like it’s nothing!!!They should be ashamed of themselves, wrong on all levels, morally, politely, financially. Frugal and scared instead of informed and visionary. That’s what this district needs, leaders/educators/visionaries who are not afraid to do what is necessary, to secure a great, well rounded , safe, education for the children in our community. Wait till they see the people they are going to let into there lives, “be careful who you let into your life you may not be able to get rid of them, so out-source, see what happens.
    Shame on you!

    [Reply]

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