Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Still No Contract for Tiverton Teachers

The Tiverton teachers unanimously turned down the latest school committee's offer. This proposal would place them among the lowest paid with one of the highest co-sharing of health premiums in the state.


Amy Mullen, Pres. of the NEA Tiverton local states: "When the superintendent proposed this to our negotiating committee he described it in a very derogatory term. Even he knows how bad it is." *NOTE: "shit sandwich" was the term.

Currently 3 other RI districts that have no contract. Recently Tiverton teachers proposed a one year contract that would have taken them through next Fall. However, it was rejected by the school committee.


The teachers then offered to accept the first year of the school committee's three year proposal in "an attempt to end this continuing animosity, take a short breather and for both sides to return to the bargaining table refreshed and ready to try to reach a multi-year agreement. It would also give both sides a realistic look at funding once the state budget has been adopted by the General Assembly. ...Instead the sschool committee chose to continue the acrimonious relationship."


The most recent school committee proposal (3 yrs.) offers first year staffers a 3% raise with 12% co-share of health care costs. The latter represents an increase of $522 (family plan). Year two includes a 1% increase for most and a 2.5% increase for those on step 10 ($6.99/wk. before taxes) .

The reputed reports of a teacher graduation boycott is denied by local Pres. Amy Mullen. This misinformation came from a letter left for Superintendent Rearick who refused to meet with teachers last Tues.


Read all of this as no end in sight. How many more of these non-contracts before the Lege decides finally to act? The promise of a permanent school funding formula led many to believe that there would be more state assistance, but that seems to have gone up in smoke, esp. with the latest bill before the Lege. The Education Equity and Property Tax Relief bill is ironically named, to say the least (see previous posting). Doublespeak is here. Tiverton would see an 11.6% cut & they fare better than the rest of the District. Still our Sen. Gibbs says nothing.


Health care & salaries are the sticking points. Not exactly headline news. What is headline is that it's all starting to hit the fan now. Property tax caps, level funding from the State (and perhaps substantially less in the future), soaring health care costs, exploding state deficits, and no solutions in the near future- The Perfect Storm. While Tiverton is feeling it this year, expect even more areas in our District to be facing this. Little leadership from our Guv except to budget cut. In an education system wherein most of the costs are personnel, there's only one place for cuts to come. And of course no $ from the federal government either. After all, we've got a war going on & a mortgage problem to solve.


Awfully quiet from our legislators. Shhh. Don't wake them. After all, they have NOTHING to do with this. It's a local problem, it's a local problem, just keep repeating...
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