Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Schools Open Again in Tiverton

It's back to school Wed. for everyone after a judge's consent decreet and a state mediator is finally on the job. The agreement ordered that a majority of the school committee be present for the negotiations, including the Chair/Vice Chair. Pretty sad when a judge has to order a school committee to negotiate. Why it took so long for the mediator to get on the job is beyond understanding.
The consent decree means that both sides agreed to it with the judge enforcing it. The School Committee agrees to show up & negotiate, the Union agrees to return to work, a mediatior will be present, and the towns gets its school opened. A fair deal all around. Too bad it could not have effectively done a lot soon without the judge.
The Guv finally woke up & is now meeting with the Dept. of Labor & Training to see what the glitch wash that held up these negotiations with no mediator. "From the governor's point of view, it is a shame that the situation got so far down the road that contract negotiations are allowed to affect the education of Rhode Island students," said Neal [his spokesman]. Duh, where the devil has he been all these years? He's just figured out there is a problem? Dynamic leadership involving education ain't ever been his forte. But he sure does like charter schools. And dislike unions.
This year provided the perfect storm for school funding problems by communities with the lege's basically freezing aid (instead of the guv for a change) while contemplating the results of the report that the State should better fund education which they paid for. This was also the first yr. that property tax caps kicked in. Thank the lege & the guv for all this "wind." Next year may well be better - it's an election year.
Here is the take on the Republican chair on all this: " [strikes are] nothing but an organized effort by the unions to break the law, and the unions have to be held accountable.” "The U.S. Attorney should consider a RICO Act investigation against the NEA, Rhode Island, which is authorizing, and has authorized in the past, illegal strikes by teachers unions. The NEA involvement in these local teachers union strikes amounts to extortion, which is an explicit RICO violation.”
BTW, declaring a strike is not illegal. Actually performing it is AFTER a judge reviews it. Why any teacher is a Republican escapes me. A RICO investigation??
These teachers are asking for raises that don't even cover cost-of-living increases here. They want quality health care. Book 'em, Dano, and ready the noose! I'm reminded of a Molly Ivins quote (boy, do I miss that woman), " It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong. "
Let's get these communities who are without contracts, back to work. Let's end this yearly nonsense. And, most of all, let's not forget next Nov. (unfortunately, the guv's got another 3 yrs.)
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