October 4, 2007

Facts and Figures in Tiverton

Justin Katz

Sometimes I find myself shaking my head at how teachers — of all people — are willing to allow themselves to appear:

Teachers changed their proposal from a three-year contract to a two-year contract, but deMedeiros said the percentage salary increases did not differ much from a previous proposal. Instead of asking for 3.75 percent each year for three years, the latest proposal was for a total of 8 percent over two years.

"We felt they were going backwards," deMederios said. "It's bad faith bargaining. They're still not recognizing that the money is just not there." ...

A second offer made by the union at the end of the night was for 3.5 percent salary increases in year one, 3.75 in year two, and annual health benefit co-shares of $1,150 in year one and $1,300 in year two, Crowley said.

"Their final offer is what did it," deMedeiros said of the committee's decision to seek arbitration. ...

Several weeks later, teachers voted for "contract compliance," which calls for them to perform only work spelled out in the contract.

The college fair, organized in past years by members of the guidance department, has been canceled, Rearick said. It was scheduled to be held in mid-October.

The mock trial team doesn't have an advisor; neither does the math team or the National Honor Society. The haunted house that is organized by the senior class as a fundraising event may still take place with the aid of parent volunteers. Teachers also helped organize homecoming events in the past, but parents may be asked to take their place.

"This hasn't made them popular," deMedeiros said. "I don't see how this works to their advantage. It's like they're holding the kids hostage. That's who they're punishing."

Rearick said school officials have been informed that there will be no field trips. School officials are waiting for a reply from teachers about writing recommendations for seniors who are applying for early admission to college.

Crowley said this morning that teachers have been writing recommendations and will continue to do so. He also said that teachers who are advisers to groups or classes are doing their advisory work, but only during normal school hours.

The unions are a cancer in our education system. Cut them out, and teachers, parents, and elected officials can be on the same side again.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Remember. It's ALL about the children. It's all about using the children as pawns. "We'll abuse your kids until you come around and open your wallets and pour money on the table for us. If your kid doesn't get into a good school because they didn't have mock trial it's YOUR fault for not bending over and giving us more money."

Posted by: Greg at October 4, 2007 9:17 AM


I was a bit surprised to see an entire post devoted to my comments. Thanks, I guess :). I suppose now I have to spend my lunch hour coming up with a response.

I have no idea who Greg thinks he's addressing. Not me, I hope.

Posted by: Thomas at October 4, 2007 11:48 AM

Nope. This isn't even the comment thread for the post re: you, Thomas.

Posted by: Greg at October 4, 2007 12:28 PM

Ooops! Clicked the wrong link. Sorry,.

Posted by: Thomas at October 4, 2007 1:05 PM

Justin, deMederios is just making things up. In fact, our proposal at 7PM on Tuesday night was very different from our proposal at 9:55 PM.

good example: WE proposed a plan design change in the first year of the contract that would have saved money in the health insurance plan by increasing our co-payment for ER visits. The school committee rejected it, and wanted to do it in the second year.

Their proposal would cost you, as a Tiverton Taxpayer, more money. You should be outraged. Also, even using their math, what is more... 8 or 7.25? Obviously, it is 8. Unless you are a Tiverton School Committee member, and then 7.25 is more than 8.

I wish you would think critically about this Justin except just regurgitating what the School Committee is feeding you.

We also increased the amount of money we would pay for health insurance from the beginning of Tuesday to the end of Tuesday. They believe that the current copay of $1100 is MORE than $1300.

I know you can do the math, maybe they should invite you in. 30195

Posted by: Pat Crowley at October 4, 2007 7:24 PM

Let me see... 3 years at 3.75% each year down to 2 years at 4% each year, or am I missing something?

Still, if they had to deal with my 0% pay raise for the last 5 years, they would have all found new jobs I guess.

Posted by: smmtheory at October 4, 2007 9:56 PM

Yes, you are missing that when you spread the raises out, the cost drops to 3%. Don't worry, the school committee couldn't figure that out either.

Why did you tolerate a 0% raise for 5 years? Why didn't you look for a new job?

Two wrongs don't make a right, right?

Posted by: Pat Crowley at October 4, 2007 10:13 PM

Interesting math you've got there. Try comparing apples to apples and maybe you begin to understand why it doesn't make sense in the REAL world, Ducky.

Under the first proposal, the increased cost of teacher's salaries for the next two years is 3.75%x2=7.5%.

Under the second proposal, the increased cost of teacher's salaries for the next two years is 4%x2=8%.

So, the 'drop' costs .5% MORE and you can't figure out why the school committee might think you're playing three-card monty?

Posted by: Greg at October 4, 2007 10:29 PM


I simply don't care about the specifics of the math. For one thing, numbers are just flying from both sides without any broader context. So you claim that this or that proposal would save taxpayers money on health-insurance, but we all know how the games are played: the same proposal probably likely moved that money somewhere else. From the taxpayer's point of view, it's all a lump cost, anyway.

Look, send me the actual proposals, and I'll give them a fair reading and assessment. Until then, it's just gamesmanship, especially since my point of contention is that every single one of your proposals has called for a higher increase (on top of steps) than the teachers' received for the past four years, even as the budget has become tighter.

3.75%, 4%... it's immaterial when the other side — the one that has its eye on an actual budget — has been looking for the number to drop below 2%.


What's with the change in tone (e.g., dropping "Jusi"), by the way? Been called into Mr. Walsh's office, have we?

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 4, 2007 10:34 PM

Hi Jusi:

"I simply don't care about the specifics of the math."

This comment says it all. You'd fit right in on the Tiverton School Committee.

See, I guess it really isn't about math, real cost, savings for tax payers, etc. It is about punishing people. Thanks for the clarification.

Posted by: Pat Crowley at October 4, 2007 10:42 PM

By the way... what happened to the Don's "watch"? Did he give up already? I guess that means I lose to pool..

Posted by: Pat Crowley at October 4, 2007 10:50 PM

Nice try, Pat.

The point is that, whatever the specifics of your proposals, they are all greater than the more realistic numbers that the school committee has been putting forward.

Really, Pat, you need to improve your technique when attempting to skip questions and comments to which you don't want to respond.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 4, 2007 10:51 PM

Are the teachers fairly / competitively compensated now?

Does their performance deserve to be rewarded with a raise?

The answer to the first is an unambiguous yes (if anything, they're substantially over-compensated already for their part-time jobs). That in turn answers the second inquiry.

So that percentage increases are being discussed at all demonstrates that the school committee is still playing the game on NEARI's rules - the assumption / acceptance of a premise that raises are an inherent (if not mandatory) element of a public sector contract negotiation.

Posted by: Tom W at October 4, 2007 10:56 PM

Really Jus, have you seen the proposal from the school committee? How about their budget? You know, the one where they increase the budget for salaries by 3% and the one where the benefit line item increased by 12% even though the REAL cost was 4.7%.

You just don't want to acknowledge that they are making things up. Let me ask you, did you see in the budget where they increased the "legal services" line item by 38% ? Did you asked them why they are paying 2 business managers? Did you ask them how much they are paying their "health care consultant?"

Here is a better one for you... why don't you ask them if they moved money from operating budget into the bond for the new school, there by increasing the cost to taxpayers?

And Greg, you math skills astound... click here for help: http://math.com/homeworkhelp/BasicMath.html

Posted by: Pat Crowley at October 4, 2007 11:03 PM


Your credibility with me (and, I suspect, just about everybody who will read this thread) is zero, and now you're throwing around accusations for which you know we don't have ready access to the necessary documents, hoping (no doubt) to distract us from the issue at hand.

From now on, if you want to seed the discussion with points of controversy, just send me the background documentation and, if merited, I'll take up the cause as my own.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 4, 2007 11:11 PM

>>Did you asked them why they are paying 2 business managers? Did you ask them how much they are paying their "health care consultant?"

A labor union guy complaining about (allegedly) padding the payroll a/k/a 'featherbedding," a union specialty.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

If those personnel were paying dues to the NEA Crowley would be claiming that their positions were critical, and indeed that they're understaffed and overworked and we need more of them - for the children, of course!

Posted by: Tom W at October 4, 2007 11:33 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.