Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Troubles in Tiverton Schools Continues

"The hurrier I get, the behinder I fall." That basically sums up the teacher contract negotiations with the Tiverton School Committee. Teachers have filed 7 grievances against the School Committee & have a hearing in front of the Labor Board on 9/28.
Tonight teachers met & decided the only avenue left open to them is "working to contract." There really is no pressure on school committees to develop & sign a contract unless the voters apply pressure. That is the one of the purposes of denying services for which staff are not paid and/or are not specifically mentioned in the contract. The other one is to show how much they do without actually being required to.
Will there be a settlement soon? I doubt it. Claws are out now. It could be the committee will wait & see what the lege is going to do. And the lege ain't gonna do much until it figures out a way to increase its income - read this as more gambling revenues needed. No talk of restoring tax cuts on the wealthiest Rhode Islanders, though. Higher tuitions/fees at URI, RIC, & CCRI already approved. Real estate in the pits also bodes poorly for our area. Keep an eye on foreclosures, vacancies, & a four year inventory of properties for sale on the books. Not a pretty picture indeed.
What comes next is definitely not going to be pleasant. Much of it will be verbally played out in the press. That's how the game is played & the Lege hasn't shown much interest in changing it, although it could.
Parents, voters, school committees all caught between a rock & a hard place. Too many must-do's & too little money. Meanwhile the fire dept. in Newport just settled with a 3 1/2% raise & a 1-2% health insurance co-pay. Teachers in Newport have a 10% co-pay. Ironic is one word that could be used. Anyone ignoring what's going on in Tiverton & thinking that they are home-free are kidding themselves.
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