September 13, 2009

Pawtucket Teachers: a Good News/Bad News Situation

Monique Chartier

The bad news is that they are among the lowest paid in the state, accordingly to the president of the Pawtucket Teachers Alliance, Charleen Christy.

The good news, however, is on a multitude of fronts. First, as they teach in Rhode Island, Pawtucket teachers are still in the top twenty percent pay bracket nationwide.

Next, they have some - enough is the question - Pawtucket elected officials willing to overlook some pretty serious city, state and national economic realities and obtain for them

1.) a multi year contract;

2.) inclusive of pay raises years two and three (of course, in addition to step raises);

3.) health insurance co-pays (you'll need a magnifying glass) of 5%, 6% and 9%.

Now back to the bad news. Support on the school committee for these contract terms is not unanimous. Actually, School Committee Chairman David Coughlin is a tad upset about them.

I found it interesting to read that our disingenuous, illustrious 'gang of four,' who think via 'Executive Session Privilege' they can gag the Chairman and educated members of the Committee, ram rod the teachers contract through passage behind the taxpayers' backs, guarantee future school and city deficits, set the city taxpayers and School District up for future Caruolo lawsuits, and set the teachers up for almost guaranteed future layoffs by sneaking this proposed teachers contract through ratification ...

Just a tad. With a final vote on the proposed contract to take place Tuesday, what has Coughlin done? He has contacted state Auditor General Ernest Almonte and Education Commissioner Deborah Gist to

request advisory opinions as to “whether it is fiscally, legally and educationally responsible for the Pawtucket School Committee, coming out of FY09 deficit reduction Caruolo Action, contemplating FY10 deficit reduction Caruolo Action, lacking a four year-old court-ordered performance audit, contemplating the filing of an adequacy lawsuit against the State of Rhode Island due to insufficient funding and recognizing the state government's predilection to level fund or reduce state aid to local school districts and municipalities to contemplate entering into a multi-year teachers' contract with no reasonable expectation that funds will be available to meet future year contractual obligations.”

D'oh! He invoked the r-word. Let's hope the good news continues to exceed the bad news and that he doesn't infect too many other Pawtucket officials with this sort of thinking by Tuesday's vote.

[Source: Thursday's Pawtucket Times]

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What's the problem. Don't you know that the Taxpayers are something to be harvested and it the harvest season.

Don't you know that they are "Doing it For the Children"?

Don't think of them as being the Lowest Paid in State. Rather, think of them as being paid what their employers can Afford to pay them. If they don't like what their employer can afford, there is nothing stopping them from finding another job elsewhere.

Lastly, do you think we'd be having this discussion if the Contracts were negotiated in Public, as opposed to behind Closed doors?

Posted by: George Elbow at September 13, 2009 10:28 PM

As in Tiverton, George, closed doors and Executive Sessions because everything is above board and if we did it otherwise, the other side of the table might think we don't trust them.

Posted by: Monique at September 14, 2009 7:18 AM

East Providence was refused open negotiations last year. That's one of the top reasons negotiations stopped. Could you imagine trying to negotiate in closed session with this gang? Look at the union behavior in public. Yikes!

Posted by: kathy at September 14, 2009 10:19 AM
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