No Mystery to Contract Resolution

Ah, the magic of the Lincoln compromise:

Despite these tensions, Lincoln is an example of what a community can accomplish, even when money is scarce, says [Larry] Purtill, president of NEARI.
“What Lincoln shows is that both sides were willing, in a tough financial environment, to find a way to make sure that they reach an agreement so there is no work stoppage and programs continue and that teachers got what both sides thought was fair,” Purtill said. “Districts have to get creative, because both sides are realizing there is just not a lot of movement to be had on the money.”

If the article’s representation is accurate, there’s really no mystery to Lincoln’s accomplishment. Everybody understood that funds were limited, and holding steadfast to unrealistic increases in remuneration would only have bled funds from other necessary areas of the district’s budget, so negotiations centered around how best to shuffle around the dollars already allocated for the teachers. They dropped sabbaticals, picked up more healthcare costs, decreased healthcare “buybacks,” and tinkered with work hours to comply with state law while not incurring large costs. In return, they get raises.
I’d love to indulge in equivalence, but somehow the “both sides” construction doesn’t strike me as accurate when it comes to what Lincoln has done and what every other Rhode Island town must do.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
24 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
mikeinRI
mikeinRI
12 years ago

“I’d love to indulge in equivalence, but somehow the “both sides” construction doesn’t strike me as accurate when it comes to what Lincoln has done and what every other Rhode Island town must do.”

I’m not sure I understand your position. Could you elaborate on this a bit more?

mac1
12 years ago

Another BeloJunkBond spin story showing what happens when ‘compromising’ women are in control. Hard to know what the School Committee is so proud of by ADDING to the town’s long term debt.
More days to cash out, higher pensions and still the state minimum hours for elementary school kids. Funny how the teachers never mentioned the students ability to learn but stated they are working on a ’30 year’ old contract that really can’t change.
The next time the ‘teachers’ stand up for the kids or taxpayers will be the first.

johnpaycheck
johnpaycheck
12 years ago

anytime the union walks away from the table smiling…the taxpayers got screwed.
i read this article which seemed out of touch with reality… but what else is new

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

The devil is in the details.
You can be sure that on a net basis, once one factors in things such as days off, sick days, “professional development days,” personal days, [reduction in] classroom hours, step increases etc. etc. etc. that on a net basis the teachers have received raise – raise that, whether measured by performance or economic conditions, are totally undeserved.
Teachers unions are the poster-entities for “greedy special interests” – from the standpoint of children, parents and taxpaying citizens they offer no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
The harm that teachers unions are doing to future generations, and thus our future workforce, and thus our future prosperity (or lack thereof), is incalculable.

Andrew
12 years ago

This is the section of the article, to me, that’s particularly bothersome…

Marcia Reback, president of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers — the parent of the Lincoln union — said she was disappointed the town didn’t allocate more money to schools this year for teacher raises.

“There is a decreasing amount of funding that communities can seek under [the state’s property tax cap],” said Reback, “and by not appropriating the entire amount they can under law, they are decreasing their ability to fund schools in the future.”

Isn’t that saying that unions should push for maximum spending, so that towns will always have as big a budget as possible, because maximum spending is a good in and of itself?

Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
12 years ago

Public employee unions should be illegal. TomW is absolutely correct – teachers unions are a cancer to the well being of our children and their future. They should be eradicated ASAP as they do NOTHING for the kids. They are a bunch of uncaring, greedy, lazy pigs. And they wonder why they get no respect. Only a moron could wonder.

mikeinRI
mikeinRI
12 years ago

Andrew, I found Marcia Reback’s comments disturbing as well. The Lincoln union, however, did not follow such advice. They worked with the school committee to keep within a reasonable budget as approved at the financial town meeting, and increase instructional time for students while agreeing to less than the common 3 percent raise. Five years ago I would have laughed at the suggestion that any teachers union would agree to such concessions. It’s a good start.

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

-and increase instructional time for students while agreeing to less than the common 3 percent raise.
What concessions???
According to the article the increase in instructional time was required by state law.
For everything else, for every “concession,” there was an offsetting increase in something else (at a minimum).
— while agreeing to less than the common 3 percent raise.
And who in the private sector is getting any raises these days? Especially these days?
And who in the private sector gets raises merely for hanging around another year, rather than for job performance?
I particularly loved the “family sick days” and “personal sick days” … give me a break. 20+ sick days a year for their part-time jobs. That’s the equivalent to a WHOLE MONTH of paid sick days for full-time workers. This on top of the myriad school vacation weeks and, of course, summers off.
A part-time job – less than 8 hours a day; WEEKS of paid time off during the school years; summers off – with laughable performance requirements (displaced by the all important seniority and tenure), mediocre results, and we’re supposed to consider them heroes for accepting “less than the customary 3% raise”??????
The Lincoln teachers and union and school committee don’t deserve a pat on the back, but a kick in the a**!

rhody
rhody
12 years ago

If there’s this much complaining over a contract that got SETTLED…
Both sides made some compromises and found something they could live with, and didn’t let egos get in the way. This is the example other towns should be following – on both sides of the table

William Felkner
12 years ago

Less than 3% raise???
The ‘less than 3%’ does not include longevity or step increases. We have the former contract online at OSPRI, including an evaluation. Last years contract had raises for teachers on steps ranging from 8.6% to 16.4%. The average was 13% – one of the largest in the state.
Find the contract and evaluation at http://www.oceanstatepolicy.org/transparency.php
We will be uploading the new one soon, but I will be surprised if it is that much different. So, is it any surprise that employees agred to a contract where about half of their members get double digit raises? Did anyone out in the real world get a double digit raise last year? Especially someone in a job that has no performance requirements?

George
George
12 years ago

When it finally hits the fan and taxpayers are completely fed up… when we get a legislature and administration serious about cutting costs, lowering taxes and developing the state’s economy. We’ve got to remember to find a way to keep “rhody’s” taxes high. He seems to like it.

Bill
Bill
12 years ago

I can’t stand these people. They were asked to work an additional 20 minutes a day, which would have meant what…7 total hours a day of work as opposed to 6 hours and 45 minutes? That would have meant two extra weeks of work…where…on top of the other 180 days of the year they have off? Great “compromise”…screw the kids yet again by giving these A$%&(*^S even more time off…2 days…but hey, the kids get them off too! Just what the kids need, more time to sit home and not be educated….no wonder the kids these days are so dumb. Great job negotiating. These scumbags must have kids in school too. How do they tell themselves that this is all worth it when their kids suffer under another teacher not doing their job?

George
George
12 years ago

Trust me Bill, these public school teachers know and play the game so well that most of them have their own kids in private schools.

Bill
Bill
12 years ago

George,
They would have to. I have been reading this blog for a year now and am amazed at how these friggin leeches ramble on and on about how much the taxpayers owe them. I pay for my own healthcare (family) at 1300.00 a month, not 700.00 a year!! I own my own company and assure you I work much more than 6-7 hours a day. I work weekends, holidays and summers. Not for one moment am I complaining. I have done this for twenty five years now and have a great life but have earned everything I own. I don’t need some union to make sure that I only work so many hours for so much pay etc… Get a real job because from what I’m seeing firsthand with two young ones in school is that they are not at all about teaching but about securing benefits for themselves, the teaching (if you can even call it that) happens by accident. FU! They are able to fight so strongly for these contracts at the beginning of the school year because they are so F’n rested from sitting on their asses at the beach all summer. Join the real world, see what it’s like to have to pay for what you get and actually earn it through hard work. They make me sick.

Citizen Critic
Citizen Critic
12 years ago

Who exactly is on the school committee? Are there any conflicts of interest?
RI was famous for conflicts of interest on the school committees, just wondering if anything has changed..

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

On June 26th the General Assembly passed some new laws (as “Articles” to the budget bill). As to Lincoln, regarding #1 (see below) it would be interesting to know if the ratification beat this August 1st deadline, and if not, if it includes a contract provision violating the new law … … and MORE IMPORTANTLY, as to #2, perhaps someone from Lincoln will take advantage of the open records law and get a copy of Lincoln’s fiscal impact statement, and then provide a copy to the good folks at Anchor Rising and to the reporter that wrote the ProJo story (Jennifer Jordan) AND to her editor. #1: ARTICLE 34 SUBSTITUTE A AS AMENDED RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS SECTION 1. Chapter 28-7 of the General Laws entitled “Labor Relations Act” is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section: 28-7-49. No limitation on health care benefit providers. – No collective bargaining agreement covering any group or groups of state employees, public school teachers or employees of any city or town, ratified after August 1, 2008, shall specify that an employer must procure a health care benefit plan from a specific provider of such plans. The technical qualifications of the health care benefit plan, to be contracted for, shall not be framed or constructed in a manner designed to identify an exclusive provider of said health care services. SECTION 2. This article shall take effect upon passage. #2: ARTICLE 36 SUBSTITUTE A AS AMENDED RELATING TO COLLECTIVE BARGAINING FISCAL IMPACT STATEMENTS SECTION 1. Chapter 16-2 of the General Laws entitled “School Committees and Superintendents” is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section: 16-2-21.6. Collective bargaining fiscal impact statements. – (a) Prior to executing any collective bargaining agreement between a school committee and representatives of teachers and/or other school employees,… Read more »

johnpaycheck
johnpaycheck
12 years ago

jennifer jordan must have relatives on BOTH sides

Will
12 years ago

They robbed the kids of two days worth of schooling to pay for everything (182 days to 180 days). The only thing that got compromised was principle. That’s supposed to be a positive? The only “mystery” is whether or not school children will actually get a halfway decent education in exchange for all the money being wasted.

Monique
12 years ago

“The technical qualifications of the health care benefit plan, to be contracted for, shall not be framed or constructed in a manner designed to identify an exclusive provider of said health care services.”
No Blue Cross??

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Gee whiz …there I was feeling bad, thinking I was the ONLY one fed up with our Entitlement-minded Public Employee Unions.
William Felkner (and Tom W), in particular, hits the nail on the head.
Let’s see what the REAL year-over-year salary increases are.
The Union, School Committees and News Papers are famous for falsely reporting the salary increases.
They love to mislead the public by reporting the 2%, 3%, 4% raises that only apply to the Top Step teachers, while ignoring Steps 1 – 9, which receive massive annual raises ranging between 8% and 18% (or more).
Let’s see the actual contract and determine whether or not the troika (School Committee, Union and Press) can do basic math. Past history suggests they can not, but perhaps we will be pleasantly supprised.
And why is paying one’s fair share of healthcare costs considered a “concession”. 15% is a pittance, not a concession. They should be happy they have it so good for so long. They’ve barely shared in the massive cost increases over the past several years …an at 15%, they are still getting off easy.
And by the way, did I miss something? I thought the Teachers’ Union and their nut-bag contracts were all about “the Children”, but I only read references to “pay”, “sick days”, “healthcare”, etc., …nothing about TEACHING or CHILDREN. What am I missing?

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>>No Blue Cross??
At least not by name or “contract language engineering.”
I’ve not love or respect for the General Assembly, but one has to be willing to acknowledge good when one sees it.
This provision, plus the fiscal impact statements (though let’s see how comprehensive they must be) and the mayoral academies mark REAL progress. Kudos to the GA.
As to the mayoral academies, it is disappointing to note that at least two “Republicans” – Savage and Long – were at the forefront of defending the teachers unions and so sided against children, parents and taxpayers.
>>I thought the Teachers’ Union and their nut-bag contracts were all about “the Children”, but I only read references to “pay”, “sick days”, “healthcare”, etc., …nothing about TEACHING or CHILDREN.
George, I know that your tongue was planted in cheek. For the teachers unions – here and nationally – children exist to serve as props (“we need more money for the children”) and hostages (teacher strikes).
The entire operational model of the teachers unions is that “public education” exists solely to serve as a jobs program for their members, and thus exists to serve as a dues gravy train for the union bosses and staff.
As such, the teachers unions exploit helpless and innocent children for their financial gain, and cause them a lifetime of harm due to diminished educational quality, and thus diminished economic competitiveness for themselves and, in the aggregate, for our country.

rhody
rhody
12 years ago

It’s a good thing the people who complain about this deal don’t run baseball teams – they’d have expected the Red Sox to take a bag of broken bats for Manny Ramirez.
It’s the classic complaint that it’s not a good deal if both sides benefit (or suffer) equally. It’s only a good deal if you’re completely screwing the other side?

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>>It’s only a good deal if you’re completely screwing the other side?
First, it is not at all clear that this contract is materially different than ones past – we only have some PR about cooperation. Until NET numbers are in, don’t assume anything.
In any case, after the teachers union screwing children, parents and taxpayers for decades, yes the only good deal is one that screws the teachers unions. Then, and only then, do we begin to restore the balance.

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Rhody,
It ain’t about who screwed who. It’s about what the Taxpayer’s can and can NOT afford.
And they can NO longer afford the screwing they’ve been getting for all too long.
For example, many of us either pay 100% of our own health-care, a large percentage of it (at least 35% or more) or go without entirely. So why should we ALSO have to pay 90% (and now 85%) for Union hacks that are already earning $70k or more per year to work a mere 7 hours per day, 180+ days a year?
Beyond that, most of the comments were aimed at the fact that we had a typical “feel good” news article without any real analysis of the story’s key assertion, which was that they “settled” for 2.65% raises in year 1 and 2.9% in year 2 and 3.
Let’s see the Contract and confirm that those are in fact the raises doled out, as opposed to 6% – 17% for Steps 1-9, with 2.65% – 2.9% going only to Step 10 teachers.
If the latter is the case, can I count on you to join with us in demanding a retraction and correction of this material fact from the ProJo??

Show your support for Anchor Rising with a 25-cent-per-day subscription.