Wednesday, November 16, 2005

D-2 teachers set to strike

D-2 does not have the money to pay teachers more than the teachers have demanded. Their employers (the taxpayers) told D-2 teachers they do not want to give them more money. Now the teachers like spoiled two year olds stomp their feet and go on strike to demand more money. All this with no regard to their fellow teachers who will lose their jobs if the board caves to salaries they cannot afford. This is about money not about the children. They are already paid well and even with the proposed changes in benefits have better benefits than most taxpayers who support them.

It is time for the taxpayers and parents to fight back and fight back big. Encourage your board not to cave. Hold the teachers off until Christmas, give them a taste of what it is like not to afford Christmas presents. Go on strike. Families who have a stay at home Mom or Dad should support their neighbors with two income families and agree to watch their children. Homeschool parents should agree to take in their neighbors’ children. Call your school board and offer them support. Call you student's teacher and ask them to get back to work. In general terms do your best to teach your children about budgets, economics and why this is important not to cave to the union. Now is a good time to teach children you can not always have everything you want this is should be a good lesson in patience and working for what you believe is best for your children. Explain how the teachers can retire at 55 with pensions larger than many people’s salaries that have to work to age 67 and beyond.

For more information go to Citizens Against Unrestrained Spending in Education (CAUSE)- 4 Kids

The below article appeared in the November 16, 2005 issue of The Northwest Herald.

D-2 teachers set to strike

RICHMOND – Nippersink District 2 board members walked silently past a gantlet of 50 teachers and support staff outside the middle school Tuesday night while the crowd chanted, "Settle, settle, settle" under dripping umbrellas.

Three hours later, Richmond-Spring Grove Education Association representatives left negotiations and announced that its members would go on strike starting Thursday.

"Our members will be picketing during regular working hours," said Laura Biloz, co-president of the union. "The board of education of Nippersink District 2 has provoked this strike. The association is in agreement with the district on a contract for this year that would have kept our children in school. The association made significant concessions in salary, benefits, insurance and working conditions to make that agreement possible. However, the district demanded even further concessions for next year before the parties had a chance to look at a clear financial picture at that time."

Superintendent Paul Hain said the district had offered teachers a two-year contract with a 0.5 percent increase the first year and a 1.5 percent the second year. Each year also would include a 1.4 percent step increase for the additional year of teaching experience.

Hain said the teachers came back with a counterproposal for a 5.4 percent increase the second year, which would include the step increase.

"They're not negotiating here," Hain said. "It is an ultimatum."

The three-school district has 1,600 students. The union represents 103 teachers and eight support staff members.

Nippersink Middle School teacher Lorie Comstock said she still remembered the informational picketing that occurred three years ago, when the two sides fought over a contract.

The difference this time, Comstock said, is that the teachers are not fighting for larger increases but for fewer cuts in their benefits.

"I refuse to take home less pay, and that is what it is going to be," Comstock said. "We're not in this for the money, but I don't want to be taken advantage of either."

Teachers voted against a two-year contract Nov. 9. The proposed contract would have cut $450 per teacher that the district pays into a medical flexible spending account and would have split contributions to teachers pensions for any increase more than the current 11.38 percent. In addition, insurance deductibles for employees would have increased to $300 from $250, and the district would have covered 80 percent of medical costs instead of the current 90 percent.

Hain said the school board was willing to extend the benefits until the end of the school year, which would have cost the district between $34,000 and $37,000.

"The board is committed not to ask the taxpayers for more money," Hain said. "If we go beyond this point in year one, we will be increasing deficit spending."

Thursday's strike will be the first time teachers have walked off the job since Cary Community Consolidated School District 26 and Harvard Community Unit District 50 teachers went on strike in September and October 2002.

Biloz said the union wanted to give parents one day to prepare for the strike, but there was still time for the board to reach a settlement.

"They could agree to the one year, or they could come back with a new offer," Biloz said. "They need to realize we can't give up any more."

Hain said the school board did not call off negotiations and was prepared to go back to a federal mediator.

"We will run school right up until they are not here," Hain said. "At that point, we will shut down. We will await the results. We know we will have to go back and bargain at some point in time."


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