A Disconnect About Motive and Cause
East Providence is looking at budget deficits of over $4m per year for 2008 and 2009 and some scary tax increases if spending on the largest portion of their budget – personnel costs – is not brought into line.
This fact seems inexplicably missing from too many statements by the teachers union. These include but are not limited to:
They’ve set this thing up, they’ve run this city into the ground just with the sole purpose of trying to knock down this union.
They intentionally cut their budget short. There’s a 1% increase in the school budget this year. They knew that wasn’t enough.
Does the teachers union honestly think that the city of East Providence has not hit a financial wall? Or could it be that something must be said to justify the demand for ever-increasing compensation even in a bad economy, not to mention the need to justify the unionization of a group of professionals (and the attendant union dues that arise out of that relationship) and nothing resembling a fact-based rationale could be found?
In point of fact, East Providence, like many other municipalities (as well as the state), is facing a very difficult fiscal situation, mostly as the result, it should be noted, of the irresponsible budgeting practices of past School Committees and City Councils. No one on the present committee or council is the least bit happy about asking municipal employees to take a reduction in compensation. Not one bit.
While, to reiterate, the current budget crunch is mostly the doing of prior School Committees and City Councils, the teachers union only exacerbates a difficult situation, thereby mis-serving its membership, by failing to convey important facts and misinterpreting the goals of the School Committee and City Council.