Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Where’s the Fairness? T/E Administrators Receive Bonuses But Outsourcing Remains Possibility for TENIG Employees

Laura Whittaker, President of T/E teachers union (TEEA) delivered a status update and message of support at Monday’s school board meeting for members of TENIG (Tredyffrin Easttown Non-Instructional Group) based on the District’s possible outsourcing. (TENIG members include the custodians, maintenance workers, kitchen staff and secretaries.) Whittaker disclosed that members of TENIG’s bargaining union have received notice of their potential layoffs from the District.

The School Board is required to give TENIG a written notice of their intention to issue an RFP to seek outsourcing bids at least 120-days in advance. If you recall, when faced with a similar situation in the previous year, TENIG came back to the Board with a ‘give-back’ arrangement — employees took a 10% pay cut and waived their contracted raises for this year. In addition to saving the District considerable money, TENIG’s offer ultimately saved their jobs from outsourcing.

I do find it curious that the TEEA president is the one offering the public updates on TENIG and the District’s possible outsourcing rather than the School Board providing this information. Why?

I have heard outsourcing savings to the District estimated at $1 Million – $1.5 Million but I am not sure where these numbers come from — to my knowledge, past outsourcing bids were never released to the public. Without the details of the bids, how does one substantiate the accuracy of possible cost-saving benefits.

If the Board only looks at the bottom line, perhaps there is cost-savings. However, there are other issues to consider. As the President of TEEA, Laura Whittaker so aptly stated last night, “T/E is not about numbers and budgets. It is the people who make this District what it is.” Many of the TENIG members are local residents with a personal connection to the District – many graduated from Conestoga and/or have children in T/E schools. Can outsourcing provide the same level of productivity and quality of job performance as the current employees? I am of the opinion that privatizing these services will not mean “better labor,” but will negatively affect the lives of long-time employees and their families.

I worry that safety of the children may be compromised by outsourcing. Who is responsible for the background checks – will custodial companies that come cheap more likely to compromise safety? Background checks are expensive and a cost factor to private companies – can the District be certain that an outsourced company will actually do background checks on employees. If the District’s custodial services are privatized to save some money, what’s the old adage, ‘you get what you pay for’ is going to apply. Privatizing may mean less reliable employees in the schools, at a greater cost, over whom the District will have no direct control.

As the Board once again looks at outsourcing of TENIG jobs to save the District money, I am reminded how quickly, they approved (7-2) administrator raises last month. If you recall, the administrator bonuses were buried in a consent agenda at the January 28 School Board meeting. No public discussion was permitted until after the consent agenda vote was taken.

What about fairness? I am aware that the District administrators had not received raises in 3 years, but I still find it curious that not one word was mentioned about the District’s economic situation, prior to the approval of the consent agenda in January (giving bonuses to the administrators). Please understand that I am not comparing the work of District administrators to that of TENIG workers, but … I am struggling with the issue of fairness. The highest paid in the District, the administrators, are rewarded with bonuses (without any discussion) yet the lowest paid TENIG employees, who took a 10% pay cut and waived their raises to save the District money, are facing potential layoffs. Again, I ask, where’s the fairness in this picture?


Note: There is a scheduled School Board Budget Workshop I Meeting for Monday, March 4, 7:30 PM. I hope that the Board will be more forthcoming in regards to the outsourcing potential and what cost-savings can be expected. I would also like to hear from TENIG President Dave Fillipo on behalf of the TENIG employees in regards to the possible layoffs.

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    1. Check pg 10 & 11 of Monday night”s meeting agenda lists the salary & bonus amount for each administrator. also available online ..

      1. Thanks, this list on page 10 and 11 of the board meeting minutes from Jan. 28th make things very clear.

        Neither facts nor common sense support this decision. A pay increase for administrators who have cut salaries to employees in other segments and cut resources to school programs. How can they justify this? It flys in the face of austerity and it shows an incredible lack of concern or understanding of the economic struggles the citizens of this community are facing with so many unemployed, underemployed, pay cuts, furloughs and loss of benefits. It’s a slap in the face to the hard working people in this district.

        It has nothing to do with supply and demand. Take a look at the Radnor superintendent search page. OVER 25 HIGHLY qualified applicants for the open supt. job. I’m quite sure you would see just as many applications for administrator positions if any positions were to open up in this district due to administrator s leaving because they weren’t granted raises or bonuses. I highly doubt any administrator would leave. Take a look at page 10 and 11. Where would they go to get salaries like these? Certainly not private industry. People in private industry don’t and can’t grant themselves wage increases.

  1. , “T/E is not about numbers and budgets. It is the people who make this District what it is.”

    That is one of the funniest statement I have seen lately! What district in this area is not about ALL the numbers in one way or another!

  2. Fairness? In career choices? Why doctors make more than nurses? Why being in a job that is not unique and has no licensing or credentials required is not as stable? Why bad teachers make the same as good teachers…as long as they have the same longevity and number of academic credits? Fairness is for playgrounds. Harsh, but real. It’s a value, not a law. The board of education will weigh the factors.

  3. While we are all adults and know how things work in the grown up world, I think there are multiple intangibles that are being overlooked in this outsourcing decision. Safety issues, working relationships with school families and knowledge of district procedures are just a few. It is naive to think the schools can move forward with low-bid employees. We all want to see due diligence from the school board…but then let’s not stop at TENIG…put it all on the table and clean house. We may have problems but we also have very intelligent problem solvers that can fix this. Or we can put our heads in the sand and hope better fiscal days are ahead…and sacrifice vital employees for a buck without fixing real issues.

  4. And while we are going through safety practices they are going to flush it all down the proverbial toilet if outsiders are brought in. These folks have the best interests of safety knowledge of the facilities and years of dedicated service to our children and district. All of this is piggish and nothing more than another slap in the mouth to our dedicated staff and I for one am ready to fight!!!! You want a ghetto school district??? They could have a fund imbalance of ten dollars and they’d still push the outsource issue …why? Because they are hellbent on doing it to suck more money in give backs and to dissolve pensions I don’t think especially the custodians should give another dime!!!!

    1. I don’t think the board wants to outsource these jobs. I’ll be surprised if it gets to that. I think this is simply business to them. They want to establish a negotiating position with this union to get all the concessions they can get. They also want to send a message to the tax payer, :See what will happen if we don’t raise taxes?” All the while approving provocative and unnecessary raises to the administrators in these tough economic times of pay cuts, furloughs and job losses to the ordinary citizen.

  5. A few comments –
    I believe TE has already outsourced transportation. Are most of the current transportation employees the same ones that were previously employed by the district? Has the district experienced any problems because these private employees supposedly don’t “have the best interests of safety, knowledge of the facilities and years of dedicated service to our children and district”? If the privatized transportation operation is working well, the outsourcing fears expressed by several posters above may be exaggerated.
    A school director’s mission is the provide a thorough and efficient education for our students. It would be nice if directors could provide above market salaries and above market benefits to employees, but that’s not what directors are supposed to do. Directors are supposed to pay just enough to attract and retain excellent employees.
    No one yet has compared the compensation (salary, healthcare, retirement) of the TENIG employees with comparable employees in the private sector. If previous boards let compensation inflate well above market rates, it may make sense to ask for modest reductions. School directors would be happy to avoid the transition problems associated with outsourcing; TENIG employees would be happy to keep their jobs; and parents would be happy with the excellent service provided by dedicated employees.

    1. Hello Keith

      We know that when a supt. job becomes available, over 25 highly qualiified candidates respond. Does that mean there is more supply than there is demand? Would it make sense, therefore, to ask for modest reductions in administrator salaries?

      It would be nice if tax payers could provide top salaries and benefits to all employees, but taxpayers can’t, especially in this dismal economic climate and spending more than we can bring in, is not what the taxpayer is supposed to do. The taxpayer is supposed to be prudent and fiscally responsible. The taxpayer did not need to grant raises and bonuses to administrators to attract and retain them.

      Is everyone O.K with firing the secretaries, custodians and cafeteria workers and “allowing” them to reapply for their jobs at lower wages and benefits while the administrators and teachers continue to enjoy raises all at tax payer expense?

    2. Keith when you say things like directors are supposed to pay just enough to attract and retain excellent employees. How do you know the administrators are excellent in TE. (not saying they aren’t) but I find you often use information to support your statements that don’t mean anything because they are assuptions. And if you don’t like the facts I put through, you wildly speculate “how many times did you say “may be” in your latest post” on outcomes that push your own personal agenda. Just because something “may be” doesn’t make it true.

      1. Hi We,
        You said, “Just because something ‘may be’ doesn’t make it true.”
        I haven’t consulted Mirriam Webster for the phrase “may be”, but I think you have stated the obvious.
        When I make assumptions or draw conclusions I clearly identify them with the phrase “may be” or “I believe” or “supposedly” or “perhaps”. When I cite factual information I provide a link or a source. I’m assuming most readers can make a distinction between the two.

        1. O.K. Keith – May be ticker bell exists and will fly over the township, sprinkle pixie dust over everyone and life will be better than ever.

          I’m going to stick to the facts. I’m taking Cowardly’s suggestion and researching Radnor, Great Valley and Downingtown. Check out DT’s page. The supt. is so transparent, he tweets. It seems to me, from what I have learned so far, community members are becoming more involved than ever and demanding full disclosure and accountability. Have you read the Avon Grove Parent Site?

  6. Hi We,
    I think you have mistakenly surmised that “25 highly qualified candidates” equates to more supply than demand. Not so. First, the press release says there are “25 highly qualified administrators from across the tri-state area“. Many of these applicants may be wonderful administrators, but have no superintendent experience; they may be assistant superintendents, directors of education or principals. The ones that do have superintendent experience may be from small, rural districts. Some may be incompetent. Some may not have the credentials to teach in PA. Some may be requesting a salary above what Radnor is offering. We’ll have to wait to see how many make it through the paper screening process; the telephone screening process; the first live interview process to make it to the final round.
    I can assure you from first hand experience that the demand for superintendents is greater than the supply. UCFSD went through the process 18 months ago. The CCIU is currently leading the superintendent search at Radnor, Avon Grove and Oxford.
    Again, while both administrators and support personnel may work for the same district, the similarity ends there. The marketplace is quite different.

  7. We know that Radnor has had 5 superintendents in 10 years…and they are saying they got “over 25 highly qualified applicants.”. that means nothing: it means Radnor pays better than smaller districts. It means many under contract elsewhere are willing to jump for more money. And it means you did not bother to,read the link about administrative openings and turnover posted earlier.

    The raises to administrators have to do with supply, demand, retention, market and encouragement. The pay to unions has to do with negotiations.

    transportation was outsourced more than 15 years ago…because TENIG would not allow the bus drivers to negotiate market rates. Why are people so sure that they are more tuned into this than the board? They did not outsource the custodians last time…for reasons they explained. The state contribution for PSERS is going to approach 25€ for every dollar earned.

    The administrators are not in a union, and are evaluated and compensated on merit. The teachers are not going to get a raise. TENIG employees are perfectly capable of evaluating their marketability. They can price themselves competitively if they want these jobs, or can push for more with confidence that they are worth what they ask. They can keep good jobs,,or they can price themselves out of them.

    When a HIGH PAYING superintendent job comes available, they claim to have applicants. Check out Phoenixville….and remember when the last Radnor Sup. was done before his contract ended, there was major administrative resignations…because there were plenty of openings for highly qualified and experienced people.

  8. The TE Custodians have not only taken a 10% pay cut but also waved their pay increase for the last two years, a 19% total deduction in their pay. Many are lifetime members of the TE Community, went to school here, have children in these schools, live in the community spend their income in this community. I guess the board will not be happy until they have nothing!!!! This is not helping anyone, the TE School District will suffer greatly from the loss of their service if they are outsourced. A TE School custodian is not a cleaner or your typical janitor, they facilitate all the functions of our schools, and serve the special needs of our students and residents. You actually think this is helping anyone? It is not!!!

  9. Thanks for bringing this to the attention of the community…but all that aside. HAPPY BIRTHDAY PATTYE BENSON! March 1!

  10. Hey…Happy B-day…I stopped counting mine.
    Interesting “news” here and I’m glad Laura mentioned it in an open meeting. I’ve been asking the Board in Finance Committee to give the community some information of this budget strategy. They have been hesitant as..I guess..any talk of outsourcing will be next fiscal year and have no impact on this budget cycle. I just wanted the basic parameters…how many employees involved…total compensation/benefits we are talking about…estimate of potential costs savings…the ability to re-deploy affected employees? Was also interested in hearing the discussion as I’d like to listen to all sides of the issue. You guys know me by now..I’m pretty “balanced budget-oriented with reasonable tax levies” which makes it more important for me to hear the other side of the strategy. Remember, the 2013-14 budget currently has a $3.2 MM deficit position. $1.5 MM of this can be filled by the Act 1 tax increase leaving $1.7 MM currently slated for Fund Balance contribution. What’s the culprit? In my opinion, it’s the $7 MM spending increase projected for next fiscal year. I’m all ears when it comes to strategies that can close this gap. Right now, this is the ONLY strategy the Board has listed for 2013-14 but now they say it’s not going to impact this budget cycle. We’ll see if additional strategies comes to light in the Budget workshop Monday night.

    As far as this issue/strategy is concerned: unfortunately we haven’t been given enough information to evaluate it. Pattye estimated it could produce $1 MM in savings. I think the number is much higher. Last year’s $1 MM savings estimate dealt with the janitorial staff only. I don’t think this group is all of TENIG although they may be the largest employee class. If this strategy deals with all members of the bargaining group; the potential fiscal impact could be $2 or $3 MM…we don’t know. I did read the TENIG contract and it does obligate the District to seek placement for any employee “Outsourced”. The other big unknown when I look at this involves the pension contribution. Are all these employees part of PSERS? If so, outsourcing would save the District 12% (this number is scheduled to keep rising fairly dramatically) of the total of all these salaries on an annual basis. That may be a big number…we don’t know. These savings would be a reality (to the District) even if the affected employees made the same salary next year or even a slightly elevated salary. It could be that the same employees (100% redeployed to outside contractors) making an elevated salary in future years could still produce savings to the District (in the form of decreased pension contributions). Is that fair to them…to be discussed when we have real information/data? There are certainly two sides to this coin.

    Does all this mean I support the strategy…no/not yet; we don’t know enough about the details of the plan to even weigh in. I understand all of the discussion regarding fairness….its all highly relevant. As a taxpayer, I also care about fairness to my fellow taxpayers. As such, I’m interested in hearing both sides of this equation. If there’s a safety concern here, that would outweigh (in my opinion) a financial benefit. I’m guessing that issue can be dealt with by having the same workforce…but, again, no one knows the plan.

    The key (again my opinion) is to get some structure to this issue. Laura gave us the first “news” on the issue. The Board obviously knows how many employees will be impacted if they sent them notices of possible outsourcing. We The People above may be correct…maybe there’s no real intent to outsource these positions. Maybe is just the preamble to the negotiation process for their contract that comes due 6/30/14.

    The REAL key is to balance a budget!!!!! Is this the best strategy? I don’t know but it’s the only one listed currently. In my mind, there’s 114 MM potential strategies (that’s next year’s projected spending). Git ‘er done!
    Again…Happy Birthday!!!!

    1. Thanks Neal — I hear you about age. As Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Old age is 15 years older than I am.”

      Re outsourcing — I ran into a TENIG member this morning at Wegmans and had a long discussion. Any numbers that may have been used to illustrate possible savings in the past were related only to custodial outsourcing. I recall the $1 million number. However, this time the outsourcing is custodial, maintenance, secretarial, kitchen and security. I was fascinated to learn that there are security members in TENIG that could be outsourced. In light of T/E School Board’s hiring of Andy Chambers as a security expert and the $250K added to the budget for security upgrades to the District, the public should be permitted to participate in the discussion of outsourcing. Parents need to understand that the possible outsourcing will cover nearly all non-teachers and non-administrators that their children come in contact with on a daily basis.

      1. Dave Fillipo is retiring. Youwant to talk to Mary Minicozzi. She taking over for TENIG. When all these outsource savings numbers are being thrown around by the school board, please everyone keep in mind that the food service portion of TENIG is self-supporting. That means that the cafeteria staff along with the Food and Nutrition Services Director and his secretary are all paid from what money the cafeteria earns selling lunches and snacks. It is self-sustaining, therefore, it should have no imact on the budget whatsoever. Also, for the person who asked if we all are members of PSERS, yes, anyone is who an employee of the school is in PSERS unless you can show that you have some other type of retirement account already established elsewhere. It was my understanding when I was hired (and my sister works for a school in a neighboring community) that we don’t have a choice, you are automatically enrolled. I think it stinks that they are giving themselves bonuses while at the same time cutting our pay and crying that there is not enough money to close the gap.

    2. Neal,

      You make some good points that make sense. We need to get information about the outsourcing issue so the remedy can be structured in a way that is fair and balanced for everyone involved. In order to do that we need information which goes to the issue of transparency which we have been talking about for months.

      I’m on board with balancing the budget. I don’t, however, think it’s right to do it on the backs of the people who work so hard but make the least amount of money, especially since the board just approved raises and bonuses for administrators.

      People who work for a living should be able to make a living from their work. How much more can we squeeze the people in this segment? I know, we need information.

      Next year’s spending projection is a 6% increase with a 0% enrollment increase this year. It’s difficult to make sense of this.

  11. What is the origin of the prevailing presumption that those making the decision are clueless on the topics many here are concerned about? The district is legally stuck with a revenue number, so are looking at expense control alternatives.
    “We need information” is a platitude. The information will be developed and used in the decision. While I appreciate Neal’s campaign-style analysis, it’s just one more example of someone presuming that those YOU ELECTED are not going to make prudent decisions because you would make a different one???

    “I want to be on the board to provide an excellent yet efficient program for our kids. I want to balance the needs of the programs with the limits of our tax base. I want to balance the budget but not at the expense of our program or our loyal employees,”

    It’s easy to say that….but it takes 5 votes to,even start ….and a magic wand to make the state and federal mandates disappear while living within the budgetary realities of a state (and community) where less than 30% are genuine stakeholders…I.e. have kids IN the schools.

    The PSERS contribution rate goes up EVERY year. The cost of fuel, utilities, supplies continues to,rise. The devil IS the details.

    1. It is true that they are elected officials. There are 4 seats up this year.

      We wouldn’t know what’s in the details, devil or not, because we are not made aware of what is in the details.

      I am not presuming elected officials are not going to make prudent decisions because I would make a different one. I am not presuming anything because I don’t have enough information to presume anything. That’s the point, isn’t it?

      When asked about recent decisions that have been made, the response has been, “because that’s the way we’ve been doing it for the last 30 to 40 years, because we’ve done it this way for the past 10 years. This is an unacceptable response.

      Things are different than 10, 20 30, 40 years ago, times have changed. Other districts are changing. Are we?

      1. So ask more of candidates than the platitude above….ask questions about intention. Ask questions about motive. Ask questions about background and philosophy. If they have kids in school, how motivated are they for change? If they don’t have kids in school, how motivated are they to protect the quality of the education vs. the taxpayer.
        Times have changed, and if you think for a moment that TESD has lagged, by all means consider visiting another district. IN the end, you get what you pay for, what you deserve, and what you demand. There isn’t a single piece of information that is not available if you take 5 minutes to request it. You aren’t Rip Van Winkle, so how come you think this is about 10,20,30 or 40 years ago?
        I agree and wrote the board to complain about burying the compensation in the consent agenda. Accepting that answer about “we’ve long done it that way” was lame on the part of the audience. The follow up question should have been: On what basis do you consider the consent agenda the proper forum for that information? Ask individual board members their opinion. Debbie Bookstaber left the board, but worked her hardest to try to expand transparency by making everything available online. One of the reasons people hold on to information is because without any understanding, people use information to make a point that is not relevant. For instance, this rant about administrative pay. COMPARE the administrative pay in TESD to others before you claim it’s wrong. And look at the openings for administrators before you conclude that retention is not a goal. WHY do you believe a Radnor claim that “over 25 highly qualified candidates” applied for a job when you have not researched the qualifications and the history of Radnor and their superintendent searches? 5 Superintendents in 10 years…. and the longest lasting one came from the city, got in her 3 “highest years of pay” and took a job in the private sector, sewing up a rather improved pension number than her previous 25+ years in education would have brought her. The devil IS the details, and the only reason I know more about the details is because I ask. You should too.

        1. I believe my point about administrative pay to be relevant. I have made my argument several times and I stand by it.

          I don’t know what you mean by ” I haven’t researched the qualifications of Radnor.” I choose to believe the information posted on the website that says they have over 25 highly qualified candidates. We’ll find out how qualified their applicants are when they introduce the new supt. You defend the indefensible when it comes to decisions the TE school boards makes, yet you don’t believe the information posted on websites of surrounding districts about the processes they choose to adopt. You believe what you want to believe regardless of the facts.

          5 supt. in 10 years does seem excessive but I have no problem with term limits for Supts. and school board directors. I think term limits are best. Term limits are crucial for the possibility of any independent thinking from school board directors. Long serving school board ditectors become unaware they have lost their independence. They become deeply proud of their allegiance to the administrators. The tax payer becomes a second thought.

          I don’t know what you mean by the Rip Van Winkle comment. I think your anger, condescension and sarcasm get in the way of clarity and your points become distorted and confusing.

        2. I don’t mind your comments but there is a reason only taxpaying citizens are allowed to speak at school board meetings. We have a vested interest in the outcome of all decisions. We are the people who pay for the decisions that are made. In my view, the view point of a person who does not pay taxes, is necessarily diminished.

        3. We the People said, “the view point of a person who does not pay taxes, is necessarily diminished.”
          That’s an interesting stance. Last month Anonymous, a former school director, had a valid viewpoint. Suddenly, her viewpoint is discounted because she moved away?

        4. Yes, absolutely, the taxpayer and the children of this district should be the top considerations. I agree with you if your insinuation is that the board members and administrators are the top considerations.

          I don’t want people who have no skin in the game calling the plays. In my view, that’s how it should work.

        5. Keith,

          I appreciate your comments but the fact that you’re a sitting board member at UCF and you don’t seem to understand that the tax payer and the children should be the number 1 and 2 considerations when making decisions is shocking to me.

        6. We,
          I think you are confusing “viewpoint” with “top considerations when making decisions.”
          Let’s suppose a sitting TE board member is looking for advice on a decision that will affect the whole community – students, taxpayers with kids in school and taxpayers without kids in school. Anonymous has years of experience, knowledge and decision making related to the educational needs of the community. Should that sitting board member discount or totally ignore advice given by Anonymous because she recently moved out of the district?
          I have no problem with you disagreeing with anyone’s viewpoints, but why would you discount them based solely on the person’s place of residence? Very strange.

        7. Hi Keith,

          I would discount her point of view because if she doesn’t pay taxes here, it would influence her views about how money should be allocated and spent. It’s easy to spend other peoples’ money.

          Let me give you a real example. Remember last summer when Pattye wrote about no school board members, only administrators, negotiating the teachers contract? Not one of those administrators lives in this district or pays taxes here. They had no vested interest in representing the taxpayer. As a matter of fact, it was in their own best interests to keep benefits for the teachers as gold standard as possible because their benefits are directly tied to the teachers benefits. And that’s exactly what they did. The fox was in the hen house and the taxpayer had no representation.

          I don’t mind you and her commenting on this blog but I find that very strange. You’re members of other communities and you pay taxes in other communities yet you spend so much of your time talking in this one.

          I believe people like Neal and Ray are every bit as knowledgeable and capable as any board member or administrator and they actually tell us what is going on. (as best they can, based on the limited amount of information the taxpayer is allowed to have)

        8. We,
          I agree that a person’s place of residence, age, race, political affiliation, gender, income, profession, etc. could influence their views. However, I try to evaluate anyone’s viewpoint based solely on its merits; not on the person. It’s a natural tendency to resort to ad hominem tactics when we don’t agree with someone’s viewpoint, but a tendency I would hope you will avoid in the future.
          The mention of above of the “fox was in the hen house and the taxpayer had no representation” during negotiations is a perfect example of why you should pay more attention to Anonymous. First, the administrators did not “negotiate” the teacher contract. They were merely messengers delivering the board’s position during the initial stages, as part of standard negotiations tactics. Remember, the board was at the table to hammer out the final agreement. Second, the agreement reached was not “a gold standard”. It’s one of the two best of the dozen or so contracts I’ve reviewed over the past 2 years. The taxpayers had ample representation.

        9. Hi Keith,

          I am not attacking Cowardlys’ character or motives so therefore there was no ad homien attack on my part. The school board only allows taxpaying citizens to voice opinions at school board meetings for the same reasons I described. Consideration of a viewpoint is directly tied to citizenship.

          The Board of Directors are elected officials. The adminisrators are paid employees. The administrators should be in service to the board members who in turn should be in service to the taxpayers and the children who live in the district. Why were there no board members representing the citizens of this district in contract negotiations with the teachers? It doesn’t make sense for the administrators to have a seat at the negotiating table. They have a vested interest in perpetuating these gold standard health benefits and inflated salaries because they share the same health plan. It was not in their best interest to allow a a hard line to set a precedent of roll backs and concessions, because they didn’t want to be subject to that in their own contracts.

          In my opinion, our elected officials should have been at the negotiating table looking out for the best interests of the tax payer and the children who live in this district.

        10. We,
          First, it was an ad hominem attack. There was no attempt to address the argument; the argument was discounted solely on the person’s place of residence.
          Second, the “residents only” restriction is applicable only at Board meetings. In Pattye Benson’s forum there is no such restriction.
          Third, you have asked this question repeatedly – ” Why were there no board members representing the citizens of this district in contract negotiations with the teachers?” This question was answered multiple times; most recently yesterday. I have no further interest in replying to a “broken record”.

        11. Hi Keith,

          It is true that the residents only restriction is applicable at Board Meetings and not on PattyeBenson’s forum and that is why I wrote her that I welcome her comments on this blog as I welcome yours and (especially) Politeias’ comments. I thought it was worth mentioning because Cowardly stated that she wrote the school board to express her displeasure on (I think) matters concerning the issue of administrator raises and bonuses being slipped and hidden in a consent agenda. Although I agree with Cowardly on this matter, her opinion should hold no weight with board members because she is no longer a resident here.

          If you have no interest in replying to a broken record, then it’s probably best to stop bringing up the point. The administrators had no place at the negotiating table. It was a huge conflict of interest for them to be there. Why would they work hard for the best interest of the tax payer when doing so was not in their own personal best interests. The outcome of the negotiations proves my point. The administrators and teachers still have gold standard health benefits, the budget is not balanced, the administrators ACTUALLY GOT RAISES and we’ve convened a committee to study outsourcing employees who already make the least amount in wages. If you’re implying that the board actually made these decisions and that there was no administrator influence whatsoever, which I think you are, then that’s a different matter entirely. And I’ve addressed that many times.

          It was not an ad homien attack. I have never attacked Cowardlys’ character or motives or used negative personal information about her to make my points.

          I look forward to reading her comments.

    2. That’s all well and good, then don’t agree for raises to administrators and start looking at all the wasteful spending that occurs everyday throughout the school district WTF!!!

  12. we the people…. who by your definition has “skin” in the game? Taxpayers with kids in school or taxpayers with no children in the school (district)? renters who pay landlords who pay taxes to the school district? Hopefully all of the above would by your standards have “skin” in the game??

    1. Hopefully, all of the above would by your standards have “skin” in the game??………………..


      Are you insinuating that I have low standards because I believe every tax payer should have a voice?

      1. wow…. I am not insinuating anything.. Just wanted to know what or who has “skin” and who doesn’t, If that offends you then this place is too hot for me.

        1. I re-read your comment and you did say taxpayer as having skin in the game. Some taxpayers don’t have kids in district anymore and their views may be different than those with kids in school..

  13. WTP
    I just paid a departing transfer tax…so I’ll consider that multi-thousand dollar gift as I go out the door my “skin” since 1.5% is more than a single year of taxes. Ray and Neal “tell you what’s going on?”…why don’t you ask personally?
    Thanks Keith…many don’t want to learn, just rant. Information has no bias, only opinions or controlling info has bias…
    Let’s leave it as “Not always right, but never in doubt.”
    Educated sarcasm vs. ax to grind whining. You be the judge :)

    Carry on in blissful anonymity.

  14. Cowardly,

    I welcome your opinion and Keiths’ opinion and Politeias’ opinion anytime so let’s keep the conversation going.

  15. Wtp–for the record, Mrs. Tiede is a resident. She had children go through our schools. She was a guidance counselor in a neighboring district, then an elementary principal here, and now Personnel Director. I had a very long exchange with the union about why Sultanik was there…it was abundantly clear he was the bad cop. the admins were involved as surrogates who made sure the claims made were accurate. Once we settled, he went away.

    As to the benefit plans…welcome to public education. Any progress made is meaningless until the concept of a deductible is addressed…and a longer scheduled work day. Admins have a contract that is independent of teachers in theory, but all but a few can return to teaching at any time for contract terms. Worry about teacher grievances about their workload…not foxes in henhouses…the board calls every shot. Admins serve at the pleasure of the board.

    By the way…people who serve on boards do so as community service. They don’t spend your money as a job description. It’s dangerous to generalize based on whatever is at the root of your anger.

  16. Cowardly,

    Good to know Ms. Tiede is a resident. As far as the administrators go, they are paid employees of the district, share the same plan as the teachers and as such should not be the surrogates at the negotiating table. I think the way Keith described the way they are doing it at UCF is O.K. Have 4 board members and 2 administrators at the table. I have no problem with that.

    I am not angry. I am just calling it like I see it. If citizens don’t agree with you and Keith (which is alot) you get angry, indignant and act shocked that tax paying citizens would dare to question decisions that are made with their tax dollars.

    Thank-you for the clarity on this post. I look forward to reading more from you. Are you in the area at least or did you move out of state?

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