Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Question . . . Has our Local Teachers Union Made a 'No Strings Attached' Offer of $600K to the TE School Board?

I am getting bits and pieces about a ‘no strings attached’ offer made by our local teacher’s union to the TE School Board. It is rumored that the Union offered the School Board $600K (or an equivalent of $1200/teacher). My understanding is that the proposed good will offer was to show an understanding and appreciation for the TESD budget deficit and an offer to help. Has this offer been substantiated? It is my understanding that the offer was not accepted . . . any truth to that? What about the district suggestion that the Union open their contract for re-negotiations instead of the $600K offer?

I do not expect school district representatives to comment on the offer. Are there teachers and/or residents that have factual information that could be offered. Even if you have commented on an older post, I would ask that you re-post your comments here so that we can get them on the front page of Community Matters. Let’s see if we can get the details quantified.

It would appear on the surface that this is a very generous offer . . . most of these teachers do not live in the TE school district and are offering to help our district’s budget deficit. If this is indeed a ‘no strings attached’ offer can we expect to learn the details of the offer at Monday night’s TESD Finance meeting?

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  1. I am very proud to say that I am a teacher in TE as well as a resident in this district and I can absolutely confirm for you that our teacher’s union offered the equivalent of every teacher to forego( on average) $1200 in pay for 3 days of work at the end of the school year (a total of $600,000) directly to the board as a good faith gesture to play a role in helping with this budget crisis. The response from the board president was a flat out rejection and a request to open the contract INSTEAD of taking the $600,000. Every teacher would have offered MORE MONEY than the average TE resident would have to pay with a tax increase. What does that say about the teacher’s willingness to provide for OUR KIDS? They pay their OWN taxes in their respective districts and STILL they were willing to shell out more money for TE kids. This will absolutely be brought up at the finance meeting Monday night before the board tries to paint the union as the bad guy for not opening the contract. Please be there to hear the truth about where we teachers stand. We absolutely love teaching and want only the best for these children as if they were our own…honestly.

    1. concerned teacher- Wow! That is amazing to hear confirmation that the union would be willing to sacrifice their own pay to help out our children in this budget crisis. I will definately be going to the finance committee meeting on Monday to support and thank the teachers for this proposal. I will also be asking the board members how they could afford to REJECT such a heart-felt offer from those most interested in the quality of education for our kids. How is it even possible that they rejected it???? It makes so sense whatsoever….

  2. This is very interesting information — as I posted previously, it twould be more helpful if the offer that the board turned down would be posted on the TEEA site. I don’t want to ruin the party, so I’ll try to be brief, and since I do not have access to any details, I am going to have to make some assumptions:
    1. Teachers offered to give back 3 days of pay. Did they agree to work those three days or did they offer to work fewer days than contracted?
    2. There was a court decision sometime in the 80s I believe that affected compensation — it’s the reason teachers don’t lose money in a strike. That decision basically affirmed that a teacher is a salaried invdividual — and their pay is based on a work year, not on days worked. If the work year is shortened, they still receive a full salary (which is why strikes have no economic impact on members of the teaching members of the bargaining unit)
    3. Absent opening the contract to renegotiate days worked, this “give back” falls into this school year — so saves money this year but does nothing to influence next year’s budget. This is government accounting — all the savings would do is go into the “fund balance” and then that would be put towards next year’s budget — but not as revenue but as an interfund transfer.

    This is the stuff that goes on all the time. After the Ciamacca email fiasco, I am proud to hear that the TEEA has attempted to mitigate the difficulties. That is a good move. Unfortunately, as I understand school law (and I have been off the board for 10 years), the reality is that they cannot “give back” days or salary. IT is a wonderful gesture, but without knowing the details, I would have to conclude that it is only a gesture. To bind them, they would have to amend the contract that calls for 190 days this year and 191 next year. Reopening the contract does not have to throw everything open — it’s about trust and honor. Neither side should say they will not reopen if they truly are interested in solving this problem. Living by the spirit of the law is as important as living by the letter of the law. The last contract I did with TEEA did not even have salary numbers for the final 3 years — just parameters agreed on — the numbers were done on trust.

    Thoughts? I’d love to see the language of the offer on the website. NO danger in no one discussing it on Monday night if we all understand it. Ms. Ciamacca specifically knows that I am ready and willing to help.

  3. This information is truly amazing!!! I have met and know many TE teachers and although this gesture doesn’t surprise me – I am still amazed that the teachers in this district keep trying to give back and yet there are so many people that view them in a negative light. Hopefully the community and school board will realize the teachers’ commitment and cut other ‘stragies’ and keep the people that obviously care about this district and their students!

  4. My neighbor (TE teacher) told me the exact same details about the 600,000K offer from the teacher’s union. I wonder what the board will have to say for itself Monday night when even more of the public is made aware of the TRUTH that TE teachers offered $600,00 of their OWN SALARY, no strings attached, to help the district and the board’s response was to throw it back in their faces. UNbelievable! How in the world can they afford NOT to take this good faith gesture???? There is NO WAY the teachers can be viewed as the bad guy/road block to progress now.

  5. This seems like a positive development, but it’s tough to know without the exact wording of the offer. $1,200 would be about one quarter of the increase in average salary that is slated for next year. Is the offer to forgo a specific payment required by the contract? Is that payment additional to salaries? Would the payment be foregone in 2010/11 and in all subsequent years? Are there any conditions? This certainly seems like something that should be out in the open as one of the strategies discussed on Monday.

  6. This is very interesting news. I will be anxious to see if the school board members actually discuss it on Monday.

  7. I am truly moved by the teachers’ good-faith offer and don’t inderstand why I am learning about this only because Pattye posted it on her blog.

    I can guess that the offer was rejected by the same board members who voted NOT to apply for an exception to the Act 1 limit – Fadem, Bruce, Mahoney, Bookstaber, Brake and Crowley..

    I believe the anti-tax fervor swirling around this community gave these six who rejected the preliminary budget the confidence to push hard for deep cuts. They’re not accepting any stinkin’ $600k offer when they think they can scare teachers into opening up their contract .

    It’s the same mentality that the BAWG applied in its recommendations to cut the township budget to the bone. Life is tough. Times are hard. Too bad if 25-30 teachers lose their jobs. It’s just market forces at work.

    Except that the market is us. As consumers who value the highest quality of education for our children, we recognize that there’s a premium to be paid. Some families have already benefitted. Others have yet to reap the benefits of sending their children to school in T/E. Those who will never send a child to school here still benefit through stable property values.

    We’ve been fortunate to benefit from a solid tax base, but the formula now needs adjusting.

    If I blame anyone in all of this furor over the budget it is the school administrators and those school board members who have resisted the commuity’s efforts to educate themselves through full access to information impacting the budget process.

    Thery’ve maintained that parents and other stakeholders need only be fed simplified little pie charts and abbreviated budget summaries with too little detail to arouse questions and concerns.

    What we’ve have here is a failure to communicate.

    We need live broadcasts of SB meetings, and far more budget information available on the TESD website. Taxpayers with their hands on their wallets are not the enemy – especially if they understand the value in what they’re paying for.

    1. I am a very big proponent of ‘real-time’ school board meetings. I understand that there could be a need for ‘editing’ (in case of teacher/student issues) but somehow Great Valley School District is able to broadcast live. I have seen Conestoga’s ‘state of the art’ broadcasting studio and equipment so know that isn’t the reason.

    2. The offer of 3 “free” days without opening up the contract is an empty gesture. Any modification has to written into the contract. Otherwise, it would open the district up to an unfair labor practice under the PA Employee Relations Act, a grievance and a hearing before the PA Labor Relations Board. The PLRB would then make-whole the affected employees.

      A $600K giveback ($1200 per teacher) is a nice sound bite. But let’s compare it to the contract terms. The contract gives the average teacher a $3,678 raise (5.1%) this year, a $3,852 raise next year (5.1%) and a $4,078 raise (5.2%) in 2011-12. Anybody out there get a 5.1% raise this year or 16% over 3 years?

      A $1200 giveback out of a total raise over 3 years of $11,608 is not a magnanimous offer.

      The bottom line is that the teachers WILL be the solution to the budget problem – they account for over 50% of the district’s expenses. The union can hold on to their unseemly raises and see their number shrink or they can renegotiate their raises downward and save a few jobs.

      I’m betting the union leadership will hold on to their big raises and sacrifice the jobs of those powerless members with little seniority.

  8. Wow – what do the teachers in this district have to do to make some of you happy?!? How much do you want them to give when you are not willing to incur an increase of ~$500/household. Most teachers live in other districtsAND their taxes are going up AND they were still willing to give ~$1200/teacher. I think that is pretty amazing – let’s stop putting them down and realize that they are trying to come up with solutions to help OUR problem and budgetary mistakes.

    No matter what anyone else says – I appreciate what the teachers are trying to do and what the teachers are trying to do to help out – but unfortunately they are met with a stone wall no matter what they try to do. I think we need to all start working together rather than against each other.

    1. Please don’t get focused on people who do not want to pay more taxes — get focused on the issue: MORE is something many people cannot manage right now. Utilities cost more. Gasoline cost most. School taxes already cost a lot. Living in a home worth a lot doesn’t mean you have access to the cash. There really are people out of work — people who have taken pay cuts and people who haven’t had raises in years. Raising taxes makes living in their home MORE expensive. I wrote previously that the average increase will be $130 if we tax at 2.9% increase. That means the underlying tax is $4400. It’s not the $130 – it’s the $4400 that is the problem for many. The teacher’s offer is wonderful in its sentiment, but essentially meaningless in that it cannot be transacted. (see my post above at 9:00 Saturday night) The district cannot deduct from salaries — and cannot pay you less than contracted. We need to find a way to work together — not just criticize what others are saying/getting/claiming. And it’s not just OUR problem. It’s collective bargaining. They are making the offer to protect jobs — not solve our problem. But we all have to accept that it is a PROBLEM and not try to attribute it to one party or the other. It’s OUR COMMUNITY and OUR KIDS. That’s where we need to begin. Good luck to us all.

  9. To Citizen1: Your comments and perspective are so misguided it’s almost sad. The teachers in this district are fabulous and deserve every bit of their now comparable salary. It’s just a shame that their tireless efforts in the classroom coupled with this generous gesture to help the financial situation fall on your deaf ears. Really sad..

  10. Agreed. Unfortunately, there will always be people who will find fault with everything and be unable to see past their own negativity. There is no changing them, no matter what. The good news is that, thankfully, the overwhelming majority of parents in this district know, first-hand, the dedication and professionalism that TE teachers display both in the classroom and out. They give of themselves, everyday and now they are willing to give even more by offering their OWN money to help the financial crisis. We residents, on the whole, a VERY supportive of the teachers and are forever grateful for the fantastic and most important job they have in the development of our children. We could not do it without them. So, for those reading these comments, please don’t buy into the sparse negativity spewed by some that, thankfully, is not the reality.

  11. I think most teacher do a wonderful job, but that doesn’t mean they deserve big raises and absolve them from making a realistic effort to solve the budgetary problem.

    If the teachers really want to help they should reopen their contract and accept raises in line with the Act 1 index. That’s 2.9% this year. Why?

    The Act 1 index is a blend of one state wage index and one national education compensation index. While most of us think about the Act 1 index as a taxation guideline it’s really a compensation guideline. The former board made a mistake by agreeing to a contract with pay raises in excess of 5% per year. The teachers are making a mistake by accepting raises of 5.1% in this economic environment when comparable employees are getting 2.9%.

    The average teacher got an extra $3,678 in their paycheck this year. Next year they’ll have an extra $7,530. The third year they’ll have an extra $11,608. Total the raises up and you’ve got $22,816 over the remaining lifetime of the contract. And this is just the raises! Does anyone still think that a $1,200 giveback is anything but a pittance?

    Again, teachers do a wonderful job with our children, but they are being paid too much.

    1. Seriously? I think this is the first time EVER I’ve heard someone say that teachers make too much. I guess so do our local police & nurses that care for our kids when they are sick? I’ve yet to meet a teacher that has gone into the profession for the money…or a police officer or nurse for that matter.

      Do you honestly believe the Union is reponsible for the economic situation in our district? You do realize that both sides bargained in good faith, correct? Your statement, “them [the teachers] from making a realistic effort to solve the budgetary problem” would suggest you do. I have to agree with PARENT here, that’s sad. Sounds like a case of passing the blame to deflect from yourself.

      I’m not sure to what your data regarding comparable employees making 2.9% is referring? Do you mean teachers in comparable districts? Yes, they are already making more than our teachers are. Therefore, 2.9% raise of a $20,000 higher salary is excellent! Good for them! Have you seen the pay scales of LM & UM? Our teachers are part of the District with the highest PSSA & AP achieving students & should be paid accordingly. This compensation has been much overdue.

      If you truly believe this, why not join the profession & help educate our kids! Being in support of our teachers in being in support of our children.

    2. Why are they being paid too much?

      They teach in the one of the top 3 perfoming districts in the state and live in one of the wealthiest districts in the state….but yet aren’t even close to having the best contract in the state.

      I can’t even imagine how in your head (citizen1) you can find any fault with the teachers offering up 600,000 dollars to help out. They shouldnt have to put up anything….a contract is a contract…if the district thought it wasn’t fair then they wouldn’t have come to an agreement on it.

      Being a teacher is one of the hardest jobs out there. Athletes get paid too much, people getting bonuses for doing nothing in failed financial business get paid too much…a teacher can never be paid too much…they shape our future. Our children spend more time with their teachers than with us 9 months out of the year, yet we want to lower their pay….lower pay = lower quality of education. If you want that…I suggest YOU move somewhere else.

      1. Very well said! Thanks! I agree with the athletes & ones getting bonuses working for failed financial business. Keep in mind that many of these bonuses are more than twice our teachers annual salary!!!!

        Does anyone know if there is a fincancial incentive to the Superintendent for cutting spending? Remember how retirement is calculated…last 3 years of salary. Any bonus for saving money (cutting programs for our children & cutting teachers) will contribute to retirement. Purely for example…if $7million is saved, a $100,000 bonus will be given. I don’t know for sure but I’m just saying.

        1. If you want people to respect this process, then you need to. It is beyond insulting to suggest that there would be a reward to the Superintendent for cuts. His job is to serve at the pleasure of the board. If you knew more about other districts, you would know that Dr. Waters has been at TESD for 20+ years. Radnor, Great Valley, West Chester, Downingtown and Lower Merion together do not have 10 years of history combined with their superintendents. As a former board member who DID superintendent searches and administrative searches — it scares me that you would even consider targeting him. The reason we all can take some level of comfort during this budget crisis is that Dr. Waters is devoted to TE — and to excellence in education. Everything you say about teachers you can say about him in spades. The same goes for most of the administration, who are for the most part “home grown” and from our own teaching staff. These cuts are now legally mandated — the administration did not make the recommendaiton to vote down act 1 exceptions..they simply are following the people WE elected.
          Feel free to email me directly and I would be happy to share any amount of information that would bring you comfort. I’ll not post it all here because some people take soundbites and don’t want to know facts. Don’t kid yourselves — everyone has an opinion — and whatever “side” you are on, you can make the numbers and the philosophy work for you. Our teachers make less than other districts — in some cases yes. But does that mean they didn’t try to work there and weren’t able to get a job? No. Does it mean there aren’t countless people not working for our district that would come here at any price. No.
          When you get out of college, you look for the best job you can get that has the things you want. Does everyone in your class get the top salary? Nope. I have two sons working in different industries with the same undergraduate engineering degrees — one makes twice what the other makes. Because one has a different job in a different place. Collective bargaining does NOT guarantee fair pay. And applying for a job and being great does not guarantee you will get the job either.
          THIS IS ABOUT AN ECONOMIC DOWNTURN. Stop making it be about cheap taxpayers, or greedy teachers, or self-serving administrators. It’s about a need to limit our taxes at this point to a 2.9% increase in a very seriously damaged economic time.
          Here’s where the self-serving part comes from — I was on the board for 3 terms. I resigned because I couldn’t fill a meeting room unless I moved a bus stop. I could not engage the taxpayers no matter how great the issue — and I could not engage the parents no matter what the topic. When things are going along fine, no one is very concerned. WHen things start to stutter — we all look for blame. Too little too late….a day late and a dollar short…be part of the solution and not part of the problem. There are countless cliches that apply…but only one thing is true: the budget will not exceed 2.9% tax increase, and if they don’t make cuts and use the fund balance to hide the revenue shortfalls vs. expenditure increases, this problem will be twice as bad next year, which is still under the terms of the current contract. And yes — we’ll lose adm inistrators who can make as much money anywhere given their talents and skill sets — and take less grief and scrutiny for it. Google administration at any of the local districts — and see for yourself.

          1. I have been sitting on the sidelines of this conversation for the last week or so. It is interesting to read people’s different opinions and actually helps bring clarity to my own. Although I am glad that Pattye provides this forum for people to share their thoughts, some of the people posting seem to be on the far outside of reasonable.

            On a personal note, I wish that there was a word count limit on comments – some of these people don’t know how to make a simple direct comment.

          2. “I could not engage the taxpayers no matter how great the issue — and I could not engage the parents no matter what the topic.”

            I guess we need to forgive the board for listening only to the senior citizens who have the time to attend the meetings (since they’re not working full time and raising families).

            I remember when I attended my first “tea” with the school board at CHS (about 10 years ago, I think), a senior citizen (on a fixed income–just like most salaried and hourly wage earners are) got up to compain about the high T/E taxes. Another audience member, who had just moved into the district from the Chicago area, stood up and pointed out that our taxes were, in fact, incredibly low. Now I hear that same refrain not just from those newly arrived to the area, but from friends who live in West Chester, Downingtown, and even Phoenixville.

          3. Andrea said, “And yes — we’ll lose adm inistrators who can make as much money anywhere given their talents and skill sets — and take less grief and scrutiny for it. Google administration at any of the local districts — and see for yourself.”

            Ditto for teachers. I wouldn’t blame ANY teacher who has read this blog for dusting off their resumes and sending them to LM, GV, Radnor…the list goes on. Also, I wonder how many prospective applicants will be turned off and take their considerable talents, energy, and enthusiasm elsewhere–when T/E is once again in the business of hiring. (I suppose that, even with program cuts, there will be job openings, especially for teachers with certification in special education, math, science, etc.)

          4. Wow, slow down. It was by no means a “target”. It is known that building level principals get 5-figure bonuses for schools achieving AYP, so why would be unreasonable to think that those in charge of budgetary cuts would be compensated? If you read my posting, I was asking a question, not posting a fact. I’m not even saying he shouldn’t be compensated. I was just putting it out there as a possiblitly. I can tell you for a fact that in corporate America, the higher ups are compensated for making multi-million dollar savings. This was certainly not the personal attack you have made it out to be. Just like the rest of us on this blog, I want to make sure decisions are being made in the best interest of our kids & NOTHING else.

  12. As any statistician will tell you, you can use numbers to support or refute any argument. Your numbers are the average teacher’s salary. In this district, we have beginning teachers and those with 30+ years of experience. You are averaging everyone’s salaries together and therefore mis-representing the issue and the data. Someone who doesn’t see past this and buy your line of logic would wrongfully assume that all teachers will be earning an extra $22,816 by 2012. That could not be farther from the truth. That amount of money is half of a new teacher’s beginning salary…there is no way that a new teacher in ANY school district would double their salary in 4 years. So, let’s look at the numbers without mis-representation. And if you REALLY think that teachers are being paid too much, go get your Master’s in Teaching, spend a year in the classroom, and then tell me if you still believe you are overpaid.

  13. I am sorry but I really don’t think $50,000 or $60,000 or $80,000 or even $90,000 is too much to pay someone for teaching the future of America and doing a really great job at it. The teachers at the top of the pay scale are there because they have devoted their LIVES to our children and our country’s future. You can add up the numbers any way you want – but I want the best teachers teaching my child and I am not afraid to pay them for it.

  14. It may be helpful to point out some assumptions here.

    That teachers’ pay should be positively correlated with test scores. Perhaps the relationship should be inverse: those children with a lower scores require more talented teachers.

    That teacher pay should be independent of taxpayers’ ability to pay.

    That teaching at current pay, benefit and vacation levels is not an attractive career, relative to other options.

    That there is any proposal to lower teacher pay. The most that has been suggested here is that the rate of increase be reduced, in the light of decreases in total compensation of private sector workers.

    Since data always helps to inform a conversation, it would be very helpful if someone could post a link to the distribution of teachers in the salary matrix, by year – last year, this year and estimated for future years. That way we can calculate median compensation and figure out the likely impact to the District for the future contract years. This is an issue that will return with even more force next year.

  15. We have some fuzzy thinkers on this blog.

    “I want the best teachers teaching my child and I am not afraid to pay them for it.”
    That would be fine, but you are not paying for the teachers; WE are. I’m always amazed at the ease in which some people are willing to spend others’ money to benefit themselves.

    “a teacher can never be paid too much”.

    “Our teachers are part of the District with the highest PSSA & AP achieving students & should be paid accordingly.” and “lower pay = lower quality of education.”
    There is no correlation between student achievement and teacher pay. The major reason for the excellent academic achievement is the favorable socioeconomic makeup of the TE population. We have good teachers, but their large pay raises can’t be justified on the basis of academic achievement.

    “are they being paid too much?”
    Yes, the market tells us they are being paid too much. The district has multiple qualified applicants for every opening and TE teachers are not leaving for jobs at other districts.

    1. I beg to differ with your last statement, citizen1. I know of at least two very well qualified–and very highly regarded–T/E faculty members who left their positions to go to higher paying districts. In one case, the teacher received an immediate $17,000 pay raise and had fewer responsibilities.

      1. What are the names of these two teachers and when did they leave?

        citizen1 understates the attractiveness of TESD teaching jobs: The number of applicants for every single opening is in the *hundreds*.

        1. The two teachers of whom I spoke were not the ones Andrea mentioned. I don’t know if the two I know want their names given on this blog. One was from VFMS, the other from one of the elementary schools. Both left within the past 2 years–even AFTER the new contract was signed. Yes, even with that outrageous new contract about which so many people have complained, T/E teachers do NOT have the highest salaries in the area.

  16. At 9:00 last night, I wrote some questions about the offer. I wish I could be more succinct, because then maybe it would have been read.
    While the tone isn’t what you want to hear, the offer is a gesture if it does not come with an opening of the contract. Please read what I wrote last night — I believe in the earnestness of the teachers who are making the offer, but it is not something that the board COULD accept as it is not something the Union can make without a contract modification.

    To avoid the discussion of an “average” teacher vs. a new or senior teacher: A first year teacher in TESD at the start of this contract would have earned $45,100. In the 4th year, they will earn $53,100. Four years — 17.7% increase. If they had gotten a masters in that time (which would have been paid by the district for the most part) , they would earn $55,600, or a 23.3% raise over 4 years. You can jump anywhere in the teacher schedule and create much larger jumps, and I assume some smaller jumps.
    We have a problem with the economy and we have to fix it. How we fix it will depend on the parties working together and trusting each other. The goal is to talk and learn….and maybe not leave everything to the headlines to get our attention.

  17. Ray you know what they say about assuming…

    The fact still remains – the teachers have a CONTRACT. So the point is moot for most of the ‘assumptions’ you raise.

    What we need to focus on is how to maintain the level of education and deal with this budget crisis. Personally – I feel teachers make the school – and I have been supported by many others on here. I think we need to see what other areas we can cut that would not impact the educational opportunities our kids our afforded in this district in addition to researching all opprotunities for bringing in money (yes I mean raising taxes). I am willing to pay to ge tthe education I want for my child.

    1. Where were you at the education meetings earlier this year, and the finance meetings, and on this blog where the demand was to vote down the request for Act 1 exceptions? IT’S TOO LATE for you to offer to pay more. As a parent, however, you can count on it. Fees for programs will become something regular — paying for field trip busses — payinig for sports coaches, paying for club advisors….all things one would like to thnk is not part of a public school program. (paying for it). I for one trust the administration to make the best recommendations available to save money without damaging the program. Dr. Waters has been here longer than any superintendent around — and the team he has around him have excellence inherent in their own background. We need to empower our children to be flexible and respond/adjust to what the district offers. Teacher jobs are protected at the state level — there will be no random layoffs. Program modifications will result in a change in staffing. The teacher offer of $600,000 is lovely, but not something they can do absent a change in contract. Ray’s assumptions do not make him look foolish in any way– they are in fact well considered and based on his regular participation in this process for a long time. Read the contracts of TE and other districts. Read the StopTeachersStrike blog. It’s all complex….and nasty comments or less than subtle references to what makes the quality of the school are not worth while. Let’s understand and solve this.

      1. Andrea although philosophically I disagree with some of our points, I really respect the tone you are taking. I think instead of both sides bashing each other, we need to come together because the problem will only get worse before it gets better and this mud-slinging is not helping.

    2. My point exactly!

      Here’s another one: that reducing spending reduces the quality of education. See, for example, Abington, where Pennsylvania’s “Superintendent of the Year” reduced taxes while raising test scores.

      1. Sorry on this one Ray — their millage is 55% higher than TESD and they have an earned income tax. The decrease from 08 to 09 was from 27.29 to 27.09 — TE stands at 17.47.

        Above — teachers who have left: Jim Joseph, Director of Band at CHS went to Harriton for a considerable raise (though not likely less responsibility….); Lisa Murphy left for Lower Merion several years before — all moot because people leave Wachovia for Citizens Bank etc….it’s not all about pay. Likewise, these were not teachers who just changed jobs — they both held positions at CHS that made them a marketable commodity (directed musicals and lacrosse coach/resident of district). Otherwise, there is demand in every district.

        1. But we know that millage alone is only half the taxpayers’ equation. Also, if it goes down and the assessment stays the same, then that’s a cash saving to compensate for job losses, reduction in workhours, dividend cuts, and so on.

  18. Thank you Berwyn resident. Can there be a control on the length of comments. I am following this thread and looking forward to attending the Finance meeting.

  19. Citizen1, you also seem to forget that even though you personally may not have kids in the school you still benefit from the high property values. Please don’t make it sound as if people without kids in the district have no stake in the school. The minute the district starts to sag and property values go down you’ll look for the next group to attack. I don’t know if you had kids that went through the district, but did you make these arguments when the generation ahead of us (our parents) were paying taxes to educate other people’s kids? I sincerely doubt it.

    Also citizen1, if teaching is easy and if they are paid too much why are you not one? If I could get an easy profession with high pay I would go there in a second. Could it be that you know that teachers are not overpaid and the profession is by no extent easy.

  20. I completely agree. I think several posters here have there own blogs — so maybe they should post there and Pattye can just reference it like she does with the BOS in the newspaper articles. It’s hard to follow, but so much of this is not just “short answer” contributes. So where do we go on Monday night — will the school board be on TV?

  21. Andrea says that the teachers cannot give up the $1200 in pay without opening their contract. What if the teachers worked the days, got paid for them, and signed their checks back over to the district? While a significant amount would have already been taken out for taxes, retirement, and benefits, the district would still realize a net benefit–and the teahcers would still be giving up far more than the average resident will pay in higher taxes. Would that help at all, Andrea?

    1. School district can accept gifts — just cannot plan on getting them or be bound by them. It’s all political stuff — government accounting….happy to discuss it further but I think we’re driving the crowd batty. Just stay focused and don’t get scared — things will be okay. Radnor and Lower Merion are in contract years (means they are having to negotiate for next year). Great Valley and West Chester and Downingtown all have agreed to Act 1 limits — and all have brand new superintendents from districts VERY different from where they are now. Hang in there.

  22. Thanks Pattye.
    By the way — by definition, a free market system means that people are paid what their job is worth…the problem with teaching is that it is not a free market system for the most part. There are HUGE barriers to entry (you need to be certified IN THE STATE– not a spontaneous decision); the people in place are tenured; the wages aer set by collective bargaining and not by demandl;pay is based on seniority, not merit. You get your annual increase if you don’t “fail” — but you can be a D teacher and get paid the same as an A teacher — and the evaluation system doesn’t allow the employer to distinguish the ratings. Now I am going on too long. Sorry about that.

  23. tredyffrinparent –
    Thanks. And I realize I am one of those long-winded ones…I just don’t want to give half the information. It energizes the system when people care — so we are all learning here. Remember we are in a democracy, and parents are NOT in the majority, so the decisions have to be sound. People will pay taxes to support their property values — but not beyond what they can afford. Right now, things are simply TIGHT.

    1. As you have already pointed out, Andrea, our relative tax burden is one of the lowest in the state, while our median income (and, thus, our ability to pay)–ON AVERAGE–is near the top. Given those facts, this district has been underfunded for years. The excellence of our schools is due to the SES of the majority of families AS WELL AS the hard work of the administration, faculty/staff, and students.

  24. It will be interesting to hear some concrete information at the meeting tomorrow.

    What was the offer? Were there strings attached? Why wasn’t it in written form? Was it a serious offer or did the union know it couldn’t be accepted?

    My guess is that it was an empty gesture engineered by the TEEA leadership and the PSEA.

    1. The offer WAS made in writing to the board president. Why do you assume it was not in written form? You seem to be so anti-teacher that you are trying desparately to paint them in the worst possible light.

        1. The union president, not being a T/E resident, was told that she would not be allowed to speak. If that is so, then I don’t suppose the offer will be made public unless a member of the board brings it up.

  25. It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.

  26. For what it is worth, I heard that the teacher’s union would have to reopen their contract in order for the school board to be able to legally accept the $600,000. Because their $600,000 would require them to reopen their contract, the union took their offer off the table themselves – not the school board. I think there are some details missing in this discussion and that all of the facts are not out here in this blog. Be careful not to jump to conclusions and start blaming the school board before you know what really happened in the exchange with the union. We need to take a lesson from the union’s prior lobbying campaign and be sure that we know the full story before playing the blame game.

    1. I couldn’t agree more (especially having been on the receiving end with the Union president). I will be at the Board of Supervisors meeting tomorrow night so I’m counting on Finance meeting updates from many of you.

    2. As someone else has already pointed out, given the anti-teacher rants on this and other blogs, why WOULD the teachers re-open their contract? Attorneys are not in short supply–at least not in my neighborhood–in Tredyffrin Township. Can’t one of them do some pro-bono work and find a way that the teachers can follow through on their genuiunely heartfelt offer without opening themselves up to renegotiating everything? I suggested in reply to another post on Pattye’s blog that each teacher sign back their pay for the three days. While that wouldn’t realize the full $600,000 in savings to the district, it would be a good start. If you are really concerned citizens, and not just teacher bashers, why don’t you make some CONSTRUCTIVE suggestions of your own?

      1. That would really make a statement to the taxpayers. I wonder if it would be possible to have the teacher’s offer somehow accepted by the school district, without requiring the reopening of the contract. I can see that it would not be fair to renegotiate the full contents of the contract. Wonder if there could be an ‘addendum’ to the existing contract that would add this $600K offer. I’m sure that there is some legal reason why it wouldn’t work, but is sure would be great if both sides could consider that idea.

  27. TE Supporter and Devon Resident — without the details of the contract, which I have suggested could be posted on the site, we are all in the dark. But you are right–the district could not accept any offer like the one referenced. I wrote a long post here last night and again on another blog about this subject — teacher salaries are contracted by the year, not by days worked. Absent a reopener to change the compensation, the offer was not able to be accepted. I’m not the cynic citizen1 is, but I suspect that the TEEA and PSEA all know the rules….and knew it would be a “rabblerousing” gesture. But the support from the teachers themselves perhaps reflects a sincere interest in participating in this process. Most teachers trust their union the same way most residents trust the board. Until they have a reason not to. Reopening the contract does not have to open everything — but it does require mutual trust. Absent that, cuts are the only option. We are looking at $9 million in cuts — so $600,000 in contributions is a good start, but since it’s not valid in that both parties know it is not enforceable, it’s not anything but a tease right now.

    1. “I’m not the cynic citizen1 is, but I suspect that the TEEA and PSEA all know the rules….and knew it would be a “rabblerousing” gesture.”

      Hmmm…sounds pretty cynical to me.

      1. Touche. I was trying to point out that the TEEA and PSEA know full well that no offer of salary alteration is legitimate absent a contract review. I wrote a long explanation of this on Understanding School Spending (link in the Blog Roll here thanks to Pattye) to avoid the extra-long posts here. At this point, we are all posting simultaneously I think — so I may be answering to something that has already been addressed. The teacher contract is on the website — the offer from the TEEA is not anywhere. It would be very helpful if Deb C. — a Phoenixville resident — would post their offer on the website.
        Asking parents to wear red was the first rabble-rousing gesture. I don’t need to be cynical to conclude that making an offer that in all likelihood was not enforceable was a second rabblerousing overture. I said earlier, however, that I believe the teachers themselves are sincere. They trust their union — and may truly not know how hollow the offer was. If we could read the language (why leave that solely in Betsy Fadem’s hands if it’s truly a open offer), then we could all discuss facts, not thoughts.
        We need to distinguish opinion from reality — reason from supposition — and I’m not sure how to do it without knowing the facts. Good luck on Monday night — but we all need to remember that NO DECISIONS may be made at that meeting and no more than 4 board members can discuss the issues without deliberating technically. So it will be a Q&A with non-binding answers until the next full School Board monthly meeting. It’s not over until a vote is taken.

  28. YOu guys missed a good superbowl…but now that it’s over, I noticed “Edmund Burke” (1729-1797) posted earlier tonight……
    “It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.”

    He’s a pretty well spoken Irishman….but here are some things he has said previous to tonight’s post:

    From Ms. Ciamacca’s letter to teachers:
    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”

    From an examination of the Union offer:
    “Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing.”

    From reading many of the posts to this blog:
    “No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear”

    Shared with hope for people to stay involved:
    “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”

    An observation on the notion of limiting increases:
    “Frugality is founded on the principal that all riches have limits”

    And a fact that remains:
    “All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter.”

    I believe the reference to rabble-rousing above was intentional….the poster may have intended to point out that it’s not hard to be cynical on this topic even if you are not a cynic. Check out the Edmund Burke quote about hypocriscy.

  29. I teach in the district and am a taxpayer in the district. I know that no matter how honest I am here or what I say, someone will try to pick it apart. I will give you the facts and let you think what you will.

    TEEA offered by written letter a $1200 NO STRINGS ATTACHED offered from every teacher in the district..

    The teachers would report to work on the last three days of the next year’s school year (all 3 inservice days) and the pay for those days would be given to the district “in order to show our support and help the school district in this financial crisis”.

    The school board wrote a letter back to the union president saying denying the offer. Soon after, another letter was sent saying the school board would like the teachers to open up their contract.

    The teachers that don’t live in the district and our union president do not have the right to speak at the meetings which is the only reason that union members were looking for parents who understood this side of the story to attend the meeting.

    I not a big union person and I don’t always agree with the decisions they make, but I can honestly tell you that there was no hidden agenda for the $1200 a teacher offer. The teachers are still willing to do something like this, but opening the contract would be a really bad move for the TEEA…it would mean that anything that was ever in the bargaining agreement was open for discussion. From past example, unions that have done this lost much of what they bargained for and still ended up facing lots of layoffs and cuts.

    1. TE Teacher — we all believe you. What others are saying here is that that offer is not legally binding — and not enforceable. Your paycheck is based on a salary, not daily work. It would be great if you have read this letter if you posted it — it’s anonymous so there is no issue of underminding your union. Several people posting here are sincere in wanting to help I think — so maybe outside forces would be useful as opposed to people who think they know what’s going on. Don’t lose heart.

    2. Why the contract has to be re-opened:

      Section 1.09 Wavers
      The parties agree that all negotiable items have been discussed during negotiations leading to this Agreement, and no additional negotiations on this Agreement will be conducted on any item whether contained herein or not, during the life of this Agreement, unless agreed to in writing by both parties.

      Thus, any modification to the contact has to be in writing. Without a written amendment to the contract the district is subject to action before the PLRB.

      When someone speaks about “opening up the contract” it doesn’t mean everything is automatically subject to change. The union can unilaterally limit the negotiations to the very narrow subject of wages in the 2010-11 school year. The amendment would be as simple as changing the salary schedule for the 2010-11 school year and leaving everything else as is.

      As for the difficulty ” for the teachers to get their side out” – the TEEA has their own web site and the use of explanatory emails to the teachers and the press. The excuse that they can’t get the message out doesn’t hold water.

      This is another public relations disaster for the TEEA.

  30. Its going to be hard for the teachers to get their side out about the $1200 as non district residents may not talk and district residents (that are also teachers) could get themselves in hot water…it has something to do with not being able to undermine their employer in a public forum.

    Unless the board or a taxpayer brings it up, it may not surface.

    In my opinion…I feel that the board rejected TEEA’s offer and then decided to ask them to open their contract so that they could prevent positive exposure for the teachers and then in turn say that they teachers were not willing to open up their contract and work to help out the board.

    I also think that some of the board members have been facing some outside pressure…did anyone see those 3 suits in the front row leave after the board voted last week on the exceptions…I’m just saying.

  31. Ray talked about that Abington superintendent cutting school taxes. Here are the facts, as reported by the Inquirer:

    “Sichel’s admirers cite other achievements as well. This school year, for example, the district cut taxes slightly while maintaining all its educational programs. Sichel said that she worked hard to cut the “stuff budget” – items such as supplies and equipment that do not directly impact offerings to students.

    School board member Jeffrey Bates said he joined the board partly to make sure that the district’s arts programs remained intact. He’s gotten his wish during her tenure.

    “In my eight years, cuts [in those programs] have never been discussed,” he said. “Our arts are exceptional – the music program is outstanding – at a time when some districts say ‘we have to cut back because we can’t afford it anymore.’ ”

    If all that T/E was proposing was to cut “stuff” rather than teachers and programs, I doubt there’d be any outcry. (In fact, when the elementary schools ran out of paper and other supplies a couple of years ago and couldn’t order more, there was noe hue and cry at all. People shared, teachers bought supplies with their own money–as they always do, and life went on.)

    That’s NOT what’s happening here, though. The change from a 5- to a 6-day cycle at the elementary schools last year was actually a 20% cut in arts programming. Now there are some weeks where kids don’t go to a music or an art class at all. And with the proposed limit of 40 periods per cycle that CHS kids can sign up for classes, such electives will be cut further.

    1. If a teacher would submit the offer to this website, it would be anonymous and yet fully disclosed. Someone obviously cut and pasted the email Deb C. sent out to teachers– and that had a confidentiality warning at the bottom we were told. When someone says it cannot happen, there is usually a reason they don’t want it to happen. I believe the teachers are sincere — I just don’t know if anyone trusts anyone. Andrea said that a reopened contract does not have to throw everything out — and then someone else said teachers are not willing because it’s too risky. Does anyone trust anyone? WHO should WE trust? I’d like to read the offer — not have it explained to me by non-neutral 3rd parties (who may in fact be 5th or 6th parties as we have no idea WHO has seen this document?)

      1. The letter was read to us at our latest union meeting, as well as the reply letters from the district…it was not sent in an email.

        The email that a lot of people are referring to was prior to the last board meeting when the union president ask to get as many parents out as possible to hear what is going on.

        I believe that was posted on here and created a stir…but the other stuff was read aloud at the meeting.

        We will see what comes out tonight.

      2. The offer was made in writing directly to Board President Fadem. It was read verbatim to the teachers (after school hours, to head off yet another rant from the many teacher bashers on this site) in a general membership meeting.

        Posting things here has worked so well for Deb Ciamacca that I can’t imagine WHY she isn’t rushing to post the letter, can you? What does it matter whether or not the letter is posted, though? Many of you have already decided that the offer could not possibly have been made in good faith anyway.

        Let’s face it: Teacher bashers will not be pleased with anything short of…what? Teachers all working for free every day of the year? PAYING T/E for the privilege of working their tails off day in and day out?

        I thought I was in a community that valued education. Thanks for disabusing me of that notion.

  32. T/E Supporter: What does it matter whether or NOT the offer is posted. That’s not what you believe. Deb C. has her TEEA and a blog on that website. Why would sharing that publicly be anything but a gesture of good faith == believing her offer is to be the same.

    Not only are you in a community that values education, you are in a community with a long-standing tradition of excellence in education. The rise and fall of the economy has never dragged us down — but the games that go on with the Board and the Union are capable of doing just that. Don’t let the Board speak for the community — and then not share what the board has heard. And don’t let the Union speak for the teachers by concluding that because they have a version -and it sounds good – that it is what they claim.

    I did 3 contracts — had one open for 3 years for the specific purpose of adjusting compensation. I value the teachers and have some issues with all of this – but absent sharing truth with me, I can only conclude that the offer from the UNION (not from the teachers) is a gesture. I’m not bashing teachers. There is a victim mentality when people want to talk about bashing whenever money is an issue. Taxpayers who cannot afford increases feel bashed by taxing authorities.

    We will not solve this with this climate of mistrust. There will be no peace.

  33. The Union offered $600,000 in exchange for 3 less days of work. However, I know from a school board member that the board worked very hard to get those 3 days in the last contract since they enabled the board to get rid of 1/2 days which badly impacted working parents. The union will still get big raises even if it gives back $600,000 in exchange for 3 less days.

    The union has refused to reopen the contract to discuss these big raises even though the administration has agreed to take no raises. Because of teacher salary and benefit costs, the board has no other option for balancing the budget other than cutting programs or imposing fees.

    While parents say that they are willing to pay 6.63% more in taxes next year, the board also needs to listen to concerns of people in the community who have lost their jobs, taken pay cuts or not received raises. Seniors are not getting any social security increase either. Asking these people to pay more so that teachers can get big raises, cushy health plans and defined benefit pensions isn’t reasonable. And teachers know how to manipulate parents- “the board is going to cut programs” is a scare tactic. But the board wouldn’t need to cut programs if our union contracts weren’t so unreasonable.

    The teachers pushed the $600k issue as a public relations tactic, but they have no desire to actually reopen the contract or to negotiate with the board given the new situation in real estate taxes (declining revenue due to falling assessments).

    I keep asking board members why they won’t respond on this blog. They tell me that they cannot because they aren’t supposed to negotiate with the union in public. But the union has no issue with negotiating in public. It seems like only one party is playing by the rules…and that isn’t fair.

  34. The teacher contract is NOT unreasonable and NOT unfair. Look at the contracts of nearly EVERY surrounding district and you will see that T/E teachers still get paid less, although their pay is FINALLY in the same ballpark. The reason the most recent contract seemed at all unreasonable is because previous ones had been so radically out of line. Even places like Phoenixvile (!) still pay their teachers more, though.

  35. My statement on the contract was made at the mic last night –the contract is not unfair and the salaries are not unreasonable — but that has nothing to do with whether or not it is time to reconsider the assumptions made when it was negotiated. People — parents, teachers, general citizens need to stop thinking teachers are not paid well They are paid just fine — and if they can make more in another district, then they should try to get a job there if that is their choice. Teachers work for security, longevity, and a pension plan unlike any we can fathom. They do not need to save for retirement like the rest of us because they will get 2.5% of their average final salary for each year they teach — no risk to it regardless of market forces. They contribute to that — but the rest of us make 401K contributions and have absolutely no guarantees.
    Teachers work hard — but in this economy, anyone who doesn’t work hard doesn’t keep their job long. Layoffs, paycuts, reduced hours — all these are happening in every market and virtually every industry. $50K for a bachelor’s degree for 7:35 mintues a day contractually, for 191 days a year is not a bad gig…and I don’t for a minute thing that’s all any good teacher works. But it’s all ANY teacher has to work….and good year or bad, they will get a contracted raise regardless of their merit.
    That’s where the process fails. The economy is tanking — and the only sacrifice being asked is from taxpayers and kids. We need to remember that what your house is worth has nothing to do with how big a check you can write for taxes right now — and it’s all that our tax rate is based on. YOu cannot point at another teacher making more — because we can find thousands of teachers either making less, or not working and hoping to find jobs.

    1. Average Worker – 8 hour work day… 365 Days in a Year…52 Weeks @ 2 Days off a week = 104 Days off….Working Days 261. Lets not forget holidays and a minimum 2 weeks vacation (more over time….my mother is up to 5 weeks PAID vacation a year)….lets say 25 days for vacation and holidays…Average Person Working Days Total now at 236…

      Okay so teachers have some more days off than the average worker. But let’s not forget the hours that aren’t paid for (I didn’t look up specfic research to back it up but i’d be willing to bet that if you did a study of professions in which people spend the most hours outside of paid hours doing work, id bet teachers are up towards the top [and then if you did a study of average pay related to hours worked outside paid hours that teachers it would be very depressing for the teachers to look at]).

      My daughter is at school to 5:30-6:00 every night and does an additional 1-2 hours of work at home. She also spends most of her Sunday evenings doing work too. (and no she is not a new teacher and anymore it doesnt get easier the longer you teach…with the standards and curriculum it makes it impossible to just work your contracted hours….in fact…i’d say that 1 out of every 500 teachers might work just their contracted time. I’d say that most teachers put a MINIMUM of 8 extra non-paid hours in a week.

      so a minimun of 8 hours extra non-paid a week equivalent to another working day. 1 extra working day a week over 45 weeks of school. 191 + 45 = 236 Working Days.

      236 = 236. So I think a teachers work year is pretty equivalent to the average worker….if not harder. My daughter and most of her teacher friends put in an extra 12-18 hours a week of work and lets not forget with act 48 they need to continually take classes and workshops which so happen to take place over the supposed long vacation…OH WAIT…i forgot the 5 hours a day the spend in school the week before school starts getting their rooms ready…lets tack those days on too.

      anyway….lets not be too quick to point out a teacher’s easy schedule. I would love to see any of you non teacher’s on this blog take over an elementary classroom for 2 weeks (and do a great job at it at that)

      1. Sue:

        Please spare us the sob story of the extraordinarily long hours teachers work. Using the high school as an example, they are paid to work 7 hours and 35 minutes per day – they teach 5 periods of 53 minutes per day = 4 hours 25minutes. So they are paid for 3 hours every day to prepare their lessons, grade tests, papers, etc. – that seems very fair.

        By the way, my wife and I are both CHS grads, and our 3 kids were K-12 in TESD, the youngest graduating last spring. Quite frankly, like any workforce, there are a good number of dedicated, highly skilled teachers that change kids’ lives – they are worth every penny they make and more. There are also some so-so teachers and some who aren’t very good. The union, contract and tenure system dictates that all the teachers of the same experience and education level are paid the same, irrespective of their quality. Unfortunately, teachers unions continue to resist merit pay.

        1. Not a sob story…its a true story. You just don’t want to believe that is the story of the overwhelming majority of teachers in this district. I still don’t know how the teachers losing jobs and paying money became the major topic on these boards talking about the budget. It’s not the teachers fault that the district is 9 million over budget….yes they have to pay the teachers, but they still had to implement and decide on all of the other spending that goes on. They made errors and miscalculations…why isn’t that the topic! The teachers pay is not even close the major reason why they are so far under.

          Also…if you were at the meeting like I was…you heard the panel of administrators try to make arguments of why all of the sudden all these programs should be cut…not just one program…multiple programs. If these programs were all so poor than why haven’t they been trying to eliminate them before…i think its a little odd that all of the sudden when we need 9 million dollars they think that these programs don’t work and should be cut or restructured. I would be more acceptable of their arguments it they would just be honest and say its a financial decide but they are just making general comments with out evidence or research to back it up why these are school decisions…just be honest…they are about money!

          1. Sue says, “The teachers pay is not even close the major reason why they are so far under.” Roughly 70% of the District’s spending is on teachers pay and benefits. By definition, it is THE major reason.

  36. Sue
    As a mother of a teacher, I am sure you are proud. Well, I am the mother of a consultant. He works 14-18 hours a day, 6 days a week, and spends the 7th day on an airplane to do it all over again. And he gets paid $54K a year, has a degree in engineering, and has seen half his firm laid off in the past year. He lost his 2 weeks vacation last year because he was busy on a project and they aren’t paying for unused vacation. He would quit an find a new job — but there aren’t any other there. Before doing this work, he was with an architectural/engineering firm, where every single person hired out of college lost their job at the end of a the first year of working and were replaced by college interns from a co-op college program.
    So PLEASE do not tell anyone about how hard teachers work. Teachers might get furloughed if the district gets permission to curtail a program. THIS IS AN ECONOMIC PROBLEM — and it’s about shared sacrifices. If so many people in education were not related to or married to other teachers, maybe they would get it. And my son — no pension in his plan — a non-matched 401K…and 50 people who would take the job the first time he complained…

    1. One thing to add — he lives in Michigan and doesn’t complain that half his college friends went to wall street and made 10 times his salary — because more than half the people that made that money are now out of work….life is not fair. He pays his bills but he hopes some day that he might get a raise or a bonus…or at least a chance for a vacation. It’s my view of his life and listening to people defend teachers. We all make choices. He’s been out of college for 4 years.

      1. Sue
        You need to read what you wrote…you are drinking the PSEA Kool-aid…teachers are not underpaid.. Teachers are not overworked. What teachers are is protected by a union — that may bring them security, but keeps great teachers from being paid as great employees, and protects weak teachers from being paid what they are worth…there are no market forces in place at all to help the value of a teacher…but there are union forces in place that prevent people in teaching from being paid what they are worth — as individuals.

  37. Pattye
    Could we have a new “header” to start over…this is about 10 pages of scrolling and for some reason, my computer “resets” rather than scrolls…

    1. Township reader, Per your request I have started a new TESD thread. This will be the last comment on this post. Let’s get the conversation back on the front page. Thanks for reading!

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