Not Quite Breaking (Except of Taxpayers’ Backs)

All indications are that Tiverton’s teachers will be striking tomorrow. This bit from the Providence Journal adds a little bit of flesh (although not much) to the rumors floating among parents in town:

The Tiverton School Committee and the union representing town teachers appear headed for a confrontation tomorrow, when the schools are scheduled to open, after contract talks broke down yesterday and the union notified the superintendent of schools that teachers will not report for work.
“A job action will start Tuesday morning,” said Patrick Crowley, of the National Education Association Rhode Island.
The School Committee issued a news release in which it insisted the schools would open on time. The committee added what seemed to be a strange comment. The panel, referring to itself in the third person, said, “However, they caution parents to have a plan in place in case the teachers decide to illegally strike, especially in light of last Wednesday’s attempted abduction of a middle school student from a bus stop.” …
The School Committee’s release said that the panel had authorized its lawyer, Stephen Robinson, “to take all legal action necessary to stop an illegal strike should it be called, as well as to stop any other job action, such as a work stoppage.”
The committee said that the union had “failed to provide a salary and health care proposal” at yesterday’s curtailed talks.

My two cents as a Tiverton parent and taxpayer continues to be that the school committee should pen the want ad and prepare the emergency certification paperwork.
Not surprisingly, a more local media source has more current information:

Tiverton’s estimated 205 teachers will go on strike Tuesday morning, Sept. 4, and not show up for work, said Amy Mullen, lead negotiator for the teachers’ union and the president of NEA-Tiverton, an affiliate of the Rhode Island chapter of the National Education Association.
Picket lines, she said, will be up Tuesday at the intersection of North Brayton and Bulgarmarsh roads from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. and from 4 to 6 p.m. Under normal conditions, about 1,080 students, almost half of Tiverton’s total student body of 2,140 students, pass through the intersection.
School committee vice chairman Michael Burk confirmed the all-school closure Tuesday for all of Tiverton’s students. “We are cancelling school for students but expecting all staff to show for work,” he said.
He said the school committee attorney has been authorized to take legal action against the teachers if they do strike as expected. He said a temporary restraining order compelling the teachers to return to work would be sought.

And get this bit of audacity:

Finally, Monday afternoon the teachers made a counter offer reducing their salary demand from 4 percent to 3.75 percent for each of the three years, and scuttling their high deductible health care proposal in favor of reverting to a variant of the traditional plan. Around 6 p.m. the school committee asked for more time to consider the proposal and “crunch the numbers,” but by then time had run out.

The salary steps have increased 3% for each of the past four years, and this year, amidst a fiscal crisis, with worsening financial circumstances for the citizens in general and flat funding from the state, the union wants more? Sounds to me like the school committee should be less concerned with crunching numbers and more concerned with starting from scratch. Here’s the updated version of the table that I posted yesterday:



Requested (+3.75%)

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16 years ago

What you fail to realize is State of Rhode Island provides the certification and license to teach in Rhode Island not the local school committee. Each person must submit their credentials to the state of Rhode Island.
Also any person teaching and working in a school must pass the NCLB test to validate they are “highly qualified” to teach.
If you flood the school system with step 1 new unverified teachers, Tiverton stands the chance loosing all federal educational funding because of NCLB and there will be turmoil in the school system. As each new teacher takes the NCLB test, those that fail will need to be replaced. Substitute teachers in the state might view working in Tiverton schools as union busting and refuse offers to work in classrooms.
Tiverton and East Greenwich schools posted in 2007 mostly highly performing NCLB scores

Tom W
Tom W
16 years ago

>>Substitute teachers in the state might view working in Tiverton schools as union busting and refuse offers to work in classrooms.
Yeah, we wouldn’t substitutes to cross the picket lines of a bunch of lawbreakers now, would we?
And they like to call themselves professionals. Hah!
A PATCO “lesson” would serve the coddled, whiny, LAWBREAKING “teachers” right!
It’s long past time we banish NEA / AFT from this state and restore public school teaching to being a noble profession, rather than its current state as a refuge for mediocrities protected from accountability by the sanctuary of a union contract.

Justin Katz
16 years ago

I can’t say I shudder at the notion of “turmoil in the school system.”
In a nutshell, what we’ve got in Tiverton is a teacher’s union that has taken the opportunity of flat funding from the state and a cap on the amount that the town can increase taxes to demand a larger increase than they’ve gotten at least in the last four years.
The sheer audacity of that — the sheer contempt for the average Rhode Island family — requires a brave response from our elected officials. What occurs this year (especially if, as follows on your mention of the NCLB rankings, the NEA has chosen schools that were doing reasonably well to make this public show) will set the tone for years to come and will determine whether we are able to prevent utter ruin of the state’s finances or must watch as entrenched powers grab for more and more on the slide down.

16 years ago

According to PROJO.COM, Tiverton school committee sent members to the table that had no voting or negotiating authority and the State of RI Labor Department did not send a mediator as requested.
According to PROJO.COM teachers and union were trying to reach middle ground but your Tiverton school committee was playing games.
If what is being reported in by newspaper is correct, I can’t blame the teachers and union for this one.

16 years ago

was at a cookout this weekend and learned of soemoen that just became a teachers aide. but she has no college degree. how does this happen???
could she be replaced. i think so

16 years ago

“could she be replaced. i think so”
Not so fast. Does she pay union dues …?

16 years ago

Johnpaycheck & SusanD,
Teacher aides must meet State of RI standards and certification.
“Under No Child Left Behind” teacher aides must take and pass “teacher aide” federal test or be fired.

16 years ago

Once again, a union member/supporter/rep attempts to divert attention from the pertinent facts.
johnpaycheck, teacher’s aids are unionized. Therefore, that person at the cookout can rest assured that she will never be replaced, fired or inspired to rise above mediocrity.

16 years ago

Do you understand what the word “assume” means?
I do not belong to a union or fully support unions, just keeping an open mind; not being narrow minded or having tunnel vision tainted by political affiliation; without prejudgment to all parties concerned especially when it concerns my tax dollar. I look at all documentation presented to me pro/con before I make a determination.
With any given complex problem (having unlimited resources) there are only three answers based on alternatives and objectives:
Make things better.
Make things worst.
Or leave it alone.
To fix the problem.
School staff, teachers and principals in other states have been have been fired (union/nonunion) for failing the federally mandated “No Child Left Behind” test in their work areas. If a State Department f Education or local school department does not play the game, “NO” federal dollar support resulting in an increase in local tax dollars.
Believe what you want to believe in private but DON’T ASSUME my beliefs, associations or political alignment and publish them on the World Wide Web (INTERNET).

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