November 14, 2008

A Little Perpective for the School Committee

Justin Katz

So here's what's going on in other towns while the Tiverton teachers demand retroactive pay for time spent working to rule:

As state leaders wrestle with a second-straight year of mid-term budget cuts, mayors and managers across Rhode Island are looking at everything from later bill payment schedules to union concessions to offset expected losses in state aid.

In Cumberland, Warwick, South Kingstown and other communities, major purchases are on hold, unfilled positions are staying vacant, and other options, including layoffs, are being considered given the likelihood of cuts this fiscal year.

Some local leaders think those moves won't be enough.

I'd suggest that the Tiverton school committee should get those union concessions while it's still called "negotiation" and the default is that the unionists don't have access to the money that's supposedly sitting around waiting to be claimed.

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As a former member of the Tiverton school committee that went thru a year of painful negotiations. I feel you are right that the teachers should not be rewarded for work to rule but they should also not be rewarded for their unprofessionalism during the negotiations not only the way they treated me and my fellow school committee members but to my daughters and my job. The present school committee should go over the arbitrators decision carefully. This not only impacts this year but keep in mind negotiations start immediately for next year and this settlement directly impacts that.
Denise deMedeiros

Posted by: DENISE DEMEDEIROS at November 17, 2008 10:06 PM

Denise: I agree with you completely.

I very much hope that you will testify to this on the record at the next school committee meeting. It is time for people to start stending up to these bullies. People will respect your comments because of your service.

Posted by: thinkaboutit at November 18, 2008 9:14 AM

That was a bunch of bull. My children go to THS. Ms D, claimed the teachers would not write recomendations for her daughter because of the contract. A guidance councilor approached the stage and informed her she had collected 50 letters in one week including two written for her own daughter. Those teachers did not "work to rule" if it effected the students. The graduation was not contractual, but they all showed up! I work in industry, times are tough, but Tiverton's teachers are the lowest paid in the state. Yet the HS is ranked 11th out of 59. If the town can't afford education then it should get some development in. Rocks don't pay taxes.

Posted by: ths parent at November 19, 2008 11:33 AM

ths parent:

I was paying attention when that controversy was going on (and I was close enough to hear that guidance councilor call Michael Burk a name as if she were a teenager), and I got the strong impression that there was a window during which recommendations were not being written. I've also heard others around town tell of difficulties getting recommendations.

I'd further suggest that any work action by teachers affects students.

Posted by: Justin Katz at November 19, 2008 10:26 PM

I work at Tiverton High School. I wrote 16 letters of recommendation last year. At no point did the union ever ask us to stop writting these letters.

Posted by: Edward Davis at November 20, 2008 10:01 AM

I have no specific comments about the negotiations, but wanted to note that BOTH sides of the negotiations were unprofessional. The meetings I attended or watched on Cox certainly did not show the School Committee acting in way that allows them to claim the high ground. Some of the treatment of the public (not teachers by the way) was down right hostile and lead by Ms. deMedeiros. Justin even blogged about one of the meetings here (the "get out the vote" FTM one).

Posted by: WillP at November 20, 2008 8:30 PM
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