Pattye Benson

Community Matters

TESD Teachers Organizing Email Campaign

In case you missed Ray Clarke’s comment on an earlier post, he is reporting that an email campaign is being organized by Tredyffrin Easttown teachers against any program reductions and in support of the Tredyffrin Easttown School District School Board’s Monday, January 25th vote on asking for exceptions.

The deadline to receive an Act 1 exception is coming quickly. An exception application must be filed by February if the TESD tax increase is to be higher than the 2.9% allowed by Act 1. I think that the exception can allow an increase as high as 6.9%.

Any school teachers want to weigh in? Residents? School Board members?

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  1. Back to that rabble rousing phrase again. Teachers need to recognize the role that they play in making the district so expensive — and instead of scaring parents/students, they could look for solutions themselves. I know very few employers who ask an employee if they can contribute to saving their own job….but the teachers certainly can.
    The district should vote to request exceptions in keeping with the time table — it doesn’t mean they will utilize them. GV has handcuffed their decision process. Their superintendent had sent out a community letter on Jan 5 (the day after their finance meeting on the 4th) outlining the exceptions and tax implications — there doesn’t appear to have been any other public meeting since that time until this vote to limit to act 1. Dont you think the program cuts should be evaluated and not just the opportunity to save money. For example: What if cuts mean we have had the last fall drama at the high school? Teachers make enough salary that they don’t want the “extra duty” or the pay associated with it. So we can scare constituencies, but don’t you think it’s more appropriate to examine programs before obligating ourselves to cutting them. I don’t know. I’m asking.

    1. In regards to program cuts – I absolutely agree with you. How can you decide to simply ‘cut’ programs unless you know the specific program — FLES, field trips, music/drams, the arts . . . I guess I don’t need to say sports department cuts, because it does seem like the arts would be on the chopping block well before any sports-related activities.

      I now have a copy of the teacher campaign email that has been circulating. Still trying to decide whether or not to post. I don’t want the email to swing people a specific way; but maybe it would be good if people saw it and would come out on Monday night to the meeting and offer additional dialogue on the budget.

    2. The GV School Board is following a budget process commonly used in the business and non-profits I have experienced.

      Leadership evaluates the progress of the organization against its strategy and sets overall guidelines for expenses and capital investment in the light of the overall fortunes of the organization. It’s then up to middle management to figure out how to get the job done. When there is not a money tree to shake down, a process like this helps focus activities on those truly necessary to achieve the desired outcomes.

      So, the GV School Board does not know exactly what the specific expense budget will be, but it has established the parameters within which it will operate (based upon the economic circumstances), and will evaluate the options are they are developed.

      For my own part, I like the approach.

  2. As a T/E parent, I’d be very curious to see this email from the teachers. Also, I heard today that the teacher’s contract prevents teachers from being cut??? Reportly, this was stated by administration at the last ISC (Inter School Council) meeting. What the teacher’s contract say that does that?

  3. Let’s realize that the letter writing campaign was not some grass-roots effort organized by a few well meaning teachers concerned with the welfare of our students. I’d eat my hat if this isn’t a scare campaign orchestrated by the local union leadership in concert with PSEA to save jobs and preserve compensation.

    Berwyn reader would be well served by viewing the two lengthy board meetings between the Jan 5th letter and the vote on Jan 19th where the board listened to all who wished to express an opinion on the budgeting process.

    1. Not trying to second guess. I am aware that there was a “work session” on Jan 11 (though a second meeting is not showing on BoardDocs?) GVSD taxes are very close to TESDs — and the school district does not share in the EIT collected by the municipality. Perhaps they plan to do so and that’ obviates the need for exceptions. I’m not sure what they need to do to claim that 1/2 percent of the1% EIT collected locally.
      Regardless, voting to not submit exceptions ties their hands. I simply believe that is a short-sighted process. I don’t think it’s wrong. It certainly is one way, and with the TESD teachers union now attempting to bully parents, perhaps TESD should do the same. My problem — I don’t think the taxes are too high for the property values, but in TESD, there is no reference to local incomes when setting tax levels. INCOMES are what is suffering. People choose to move to a district based on research about the programs. Major cuts is not exactly a WELCOME sign to potential buyers.

  4. Anything that the teachers are saying at this point is for no other reason than to save their jobs. I’m disheartened that they only have their own interests in mind, not the interests of the students, parents or taxpayers. I suspect they will say anything to try and get parents to help support their cause so they can all keep their jobs. The teachers aren’t willing to share the burden – they only want the school board to raise taxes as much as possible.. I suspect all teachers could keep their jobs if there was a willingness to negotiate on the part of the union. As a parent in T/E, I know that there is a lot of lobbying going on behind the scenes by the teachers. The teachers are not willing to be part of the solution to the budget problem. They only want to see their personal interests protected. It is not fair for the taxpayers to have to foot the entire bill for as a result of the economy. I’m just afraid that many parents will be scared by the teachers’ campaign and therefore be unable to objectively evaluate this situation. I hope taxpayers, not just teachers, will also show up at Monday’s meeting to protect our interests in keeping costs under control. Thanks, Pattye, for providing this outlet.

  5. I think Citizen1 thinks I have an issue with GV’s budget — not so. I have an issue with a process that appears to be the money before the issues. Mr. Clarke likes the approach — I do not because I believe that cuts made drastically have so many more ramifications than cuts made thoughtfully.

    But having now read the email from the teachers (thanks for posting !) , what I feared would happen is already starting. When this year’s candidates were campaigning, I specifically talked to one who came to my door and talked about how he had a stake in the district because he had 3 children elementary and younger. I told him that would make him a very difficult board member — because the teachers he would need to negotiate with would have access to his children 7 hours a day. He did not believe that would be an issue. It absolutely is. Intentionally or not, the leadership of a union can be quite threatening.

    This email is just the beginning. Individual teachers are not an issue — but the email even states that Wendy Prothero will be keeping a list of parents who plan to attend. IT is not even thinly veiled. . She is the secretary of the TEEA. You can go on their website and read all about it. Our teachers are very strategically determined to protect their jobs — not our programs. They have filed a “DEMAND TO BARGAIN” letter because of the e-learning pilot program. So — as we have said before, the District looks for ways to improve and expand programs — sometimes at cost savings — and the TEEA pounces.

    Here’s an excerpt (relating to the E-Learning possibilities) — this comes from the Dec 2009 TESTIFIER — the TEEA newsletter. It’s a warning against the possible ramifications of an elearning program:

    “E Learning – The District has established a pilot program at the high school to allow students to take on line courses for credit. TEEA does not oppose e learning, per se, but we oppose the idea of outsourcing courses that are taught by current staff members.
    We also believe that TEEA teachers are extremely qualified, and could teach these courses ourselves! We could be a revenue generator for the District!
    To that end, we have filed a “Demand to Bargain” letter with the District in an effort to reach a fair agreement on this matter. It is possible that we may have to grieve this matter or file an unfair labor practice against the District.
    I know that none of these matters is pleasant….but please know that TEEA is on top of things and will continue to act in your best interest. With sincere thanks and appreciation to you all – for your
    support this past year, and wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season, Deb ”

    The DEB here is Debra Ciammaca — the President of the TEEA. I’m not sure, but I believe she was a Marine before she became a teacher….so she’s pretty savvy about leadership and rank and file taking orders.

    1. Thank you Berwyn reader. You reference the TEEA (Tredyffrin Easttown Educational Association) and their monthly newsletter. I went to the TEEA website, and found it very informational; I’d suggest that all readers take the time to review before Monday’s TESD meeting. Their December newsletter can be found by clicking on ‘Testifier’ on the left side of their website.

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