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Thread: 180 School Days

  1. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by FF2 View Post
    So how does breaking their union or decreasing their benefits improve education?
    How does a Union who generally argues for:

    1. Less work (or No Added Work)
    2. More Cost (Compensation)
    3. Less Accountabillity (i.e. Harder to Fire)
    3. Defends Bad and Underperforming Teachers Union members as much as good ones.

    How does the Union help improve education exactly?

    I can see ho wthey help Teachers as individuals live more prosperous, less stressful lives. But how do they improve education, i.e. a better product for less cost and more accountabillity?

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by FF2 View Post
    So how does breaking their union or decreasing their benefits improve education?
    FYI my kids go to a private school for religious reasons. The original version of this private school was unionized a few years back. They had some enrollment issues due to a combination of the recession as well as a general reduction in the quality of the education there (due to union issues). Staff could not be fired, poor performing teachers kept on and worst of all when enrollment went down they were locked in to staff levels that were unsustainable. A couple of years the original version of the school shut down completely due to bankruptcy. The inability to lower staff levels and get rid of poor performing teachers killed the school. The next year a new "version" opened up in a new location. The new version was not unionized. The changes in the quality of the teachers and education in general has been nothing short of mind boggling. After the first year they dumped the few teachers that were not well regarded and replaced with new staff. The reception in the county has been spectacular and the new "non-unionized" entity has seen dramatic increases in enrollment. The reputation in the county is now fantastic with enrollment up dramatically.

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefst2000 View Post
    So we should poll teachers about extending their work year without additional pay and use that as a basis for action? Me thinks they will say 180 days is plenty.
    Not sure anyone said anything about no additional pay. I think most agree if and when the school year is extended, compensation should be proportionally adjusted. In fact, most proposals I've seen don't actually increase the total number of school days, they merely spread them out with shorter, more frequent breaks.

    Regardless, I'd be happy to see that poll conducted. I think some would be surprised at how many teachers would be in favor ( provided it is a secret ballot). Like I said, there are many that care more about helping the students than the privilege they have in their schedule. Would be interesting to see just how many.

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefst2000 View Post
    FYI my kids go to a private school for religious reasons. The original version of this private school was unionized a few years back. They had some enrollment issues due to a combination of the recession as well as a general reduction in the quality of the education there (due to union issues). Staff could not be fired, poor performing teachers kept on and worst of all when enrollment went down they were locked in to staff levels that were unsustainable. A couple of years the original version of the school shut down completely due to bankruptcy. The inability to lower staff levels and get rid of poor performing teachers killed the school. The next year a new "version" opened up in a new location. The new version was not unionized. The changes in the quality of the teachers and education in general has been nothing short of mind boggling. After the first year they dumped the few teachers that were not well regarded and replaced with new staff. The reception in the county has been spectacular and the new "non-unionized" entity has seen dramatic increases in enrollment. The reputation in the county is now fantastic with enrollment up dramatically.
    Why were they locked into staffing levels?

    In our town 50% of teachers are pink slipped at the end of the year and brought back if budget allows.

  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Churchill View Post
    How does a Union who generally argues for:

    1. Less work (or No Added Work)
    2. More Cost (Compensation)
    3. Less Accountabillity (i.e. Harder to Fire)
    3. Defends Bad and Underperforming Teachers Union members as much as good ones.

    How does the Union help improve education exactly?

    I can see ho wthey help Teachers as individuals live more prosperous, less stressful lives. But how do they improve education, i.e. a better product for less cost and more accountabillity?
    1. Would you like extra work added to your job for same pay, usually by bureaucrats who have never stepped in the classroom?

    2. Find me people who want to get paid less. Our town hast had a raise in 5 years...union must be dog a pretty bad job!

    3. Plenty of teachers are fired every year.

    4. Good teachers want bad teacher out as much as the general pubic does.

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by FF2 View Post
    Why were they locked into staffing levels?

    In our town 50% of teachers are pink slipped at the end of the year and brought back if budget allows.
    Please support this with a non-anecdotal source, because it's rather hard to elieve that a town in the strongly liberal NE/Mass fires "half" it's teachers every summer without cause, especially given that most publc entities budget for 3-4 years ahead, meaning they'd know exactly what was budgeted for the following fall at the start of that summer.

    I'd be very interested to read about such a policy, and how the Union was convinced to be willing to accept that policy. My guess, if you are indeed not full of ****, isthe 50% retained every year get even more benefits, prtections and compensation than normal, at the expense of the younger teachers being let go each summer, a rather typical Union strategy.

  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by Churchill View Post
    Please support this with a non-anecdotal source, because it's rather hard to elieve that a town in the strongly liberal NE/Mass fires "half" it's teachers every summer without cause, especially given that most publc entities budget for 3-4 years ahead, meaning they'd know exactly what was budgeted for the following fall at the start of that summer.

    I'd be very interested to read about such a policy, and how the Union was convinced to be willing to accept that policy. My guess, if you are indeed not full of ****, isthe 50% retained every year get even more benefits, prtections and compensation than normal, at the expense of the younger teachers being let go each summer, a rather typical Union strategy.
    Sigh, I cant link you to an article...I just live through it.

    Because the towns budget is greatly affected by State aid, the school budget is NOT known. Every year pink slips are given out to PROTECT the town. If the State Aid is sufficient they are re-hired once the budget numbers are know. If they WERE NOT pink slipped by a certain date, the town would HAVE to keep them. Two of the years my evil wife was pink slipped she was not hired back. As yes now that she is a veteran she is a multi-milionniare who loves crushing the careers of her young laid off enemies. (Actually she is an unpaid mentor to them, but lets not ruin the stereotype)

    You live in a fantasy where the evil union dictates things. Its the budget that dictates things. The School Committee provides the budget, the Superintendent decides what do with it.

  8. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by Churchill View Post
    Please support this with a non-anecdotal source, because it's rather hard to elieve that a town in the strongly liberal NE/Mass fires "half" it's teachers every summer without cause, especially given that most publc entities budget for 3-4 years ahead, meaning they'd know exactly what was budgeted for the following fall at the start of that summer.

    I'd be very interested to read about such a policy, and how the Union was convinced to be willing to accept that policy. My guess, if you are indeed not full of ****, isthe 50% retained every year get even more benefits, prtections and compensation than normal, at the expense of the younger teachers being let go each summer, a rather typical Union strategy.
    Philadelphia is laying off 3700 teachers. Wall NJ last year gave every teacher a pink slip. It is happening everywhere. You're getting your wish for less teachers.

  9. #109
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    http://liveshots.blogs.foxnews.com/2...-all-teachers/


    Here a quick look at a school pink slipping more than half...how about ALL? How does the union allow this!

    Providence Plans to Pink Slip All Teachers
    February 24, 2011 - 5:19 PM | by: Molly Line
    In an unprecedented move to reduce spending and reign in a massive $40
    million dollar budget shortfall school district leaders in Providence,
    Rhode Island plan to send dismissal notices to every teacher in the
    district by March 1st, meeting a legal deadline to warn teachers of
    changes to their employment status.
    Providence Superintendent Tom Brady sent letters to the district’s nearly 2,000 teachers
    citing a ‘dire budget’ and warning them of the mass dismissals. A school board meeting
    is slated for Thursday night to allow teachers and the public to speak out regarding the plan.
    Many teachers say they’re confused by the district’s plan.
    Librarian Jonathan Ryder says he doesn’t understand the sweeping move to
    dismiss all educators, regardless of need or experience.
    “I understand that when you’re dealing with situations like this you will lay off a bunch of teachers.
    I understand that. That’s entirely reasonable,” said Ryder. “I’m just a little confused why they would
    lay off everyone because that seems to me to be a little too broad a stroke.”
    Teacher Anne Mrozowski says she has lived in Providence for 25 years. Her kids attended city schools.
    “My commitment is to my students and my parents and my school. I’m hoping that is also the
    district’s commitment, that firing all the teachers was really necessary and not just a political
    maneuver because it’s so destabilizing.”
    According to Christina O’Reilly from the Media Relations Office of the
    Providence Public School Department, the letters sent to teachers thus
    far are called “pre-deprivation letters.” They act as preliminary
    notice that the School Board is considering the dismissal of all
    teachers.
    If the dismissal notices become official they will be effective as of the
    school year end but it is very likely the majority will be
    ‘rescinded’ before that date allowing most teachers to keep their
    jobs. The move will give the school district more flexibility to
    reduce staff as leaders struggle to save money.
    Similar actions have been taken in years past but not to this extent
    and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras stands by the plan, publishing a
    letter on the city’s website that reads in part:
    “Providence faces significant challenges in getting its financial
    house in order. Spending reductions are inevitable. It is also
    inevitable that some portion of cuts will come from the school budget.
    This is why we faced the difficult decision of sending letters to all
    teachers: we do not yet know what actions will be required and believe
    it was only fair to let all teachers know about the severity of the
    situation.”
    The letter also laments the March 1st deadline that requires teachers
    be informed of potential changes to employment arguing the date should
    be later in July when the city’s budgeting process is complete.
    Last edited by FF2; 06-24-2013 at 02:27 PM.

  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by FF2 View Post
    Why were they locked into staffing levels?

    In our town 50% of teachers are pink slipped at the end of the year and brought back if budget allows.
    Somehow the rules stated that every class required having two full time teachers. Some of the classes had just 7 or 8 students yet they required 2 teachers. There were other issues primarily dealing with poor performing teachers that could not be let go easily.

  11. #111
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    I'm not sure of the particulars, because my wife works in a district in NY that we don't live in, but a number of teachers were pink-slipped for next year due to enrollment being down as well. We know of quite a few in other districts that get let go and brought back as enrollments and budgets change. It is quite the revolving door around here at the bottom X% - not bottom on skill or performance, strictly fewest years in. If you're not connected (related, etc) it can be very tough. You pray for retirements.

    So saying "Harder to Fire" really needs a qualifier. The x% at the top, yes, they're virtually impossible to fire under the current system in NY unless enrollment and budgets truly hit rock bottom. Some of those longer tenured teachers are great, worthy teachers, and others are skating by, some are burnt out, others are the ones who go to their union rep because their classroom is moving - true story. The problem is, there's a lot of high energy, younger teachers doing it not for the money that are stuck in that revolving door. So yeah, I have "skin in the game" but I'm of the opinion things need to change as well.

  12. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by FF2 View Post
    Sigh, I cant link you to an article...I just live through it.

    Because the towns budget is greatly affected by State aid, the school budget is NOT known.
    So you cannot back your anecdotal claim, got it. Shame, as I'd have really loved to read more on this town policy of yours, from both town and Union perspectives.

    You also display your typical lack of real-world understanding of public sector budgeting processes. Guess the accounting dept. isn't sharing their processes with the teachers or their husbands then.

    Two of the years my evil wife was pink slipped she was not hired back.
    Please note, I've never called your wife "evil", nor can I judge her talents specificly in the classroom. She puts up with you for more than 5 minutes, so like my own wife with me, she must be a saint amongst women tbqh.

    You live in a fantasy where the evil union dictates things.
    I've worked in Unions too FF. I know exactly how they work, and who they protect, and who they serve. I saw too often how the low-performing long-timers got every perk, performed well below average, and yet when the rare layoff time came it was always the younger folks let go. And I know what the Unions purpose was, to get more of everything for those same veterans....quality of work/production/productivity was never something they cared about, only more money, more benefits for the lifers....and more spots where "thats not my job, see the contract" can be used to avoid work.

    The Unions does not serve the betterment of education. When i asked you to tell how they do, it's VERY telling that your reply is instead an attack on me for not supporting the Union, rather than an explaination as to how the Union makes our education system better.

    Its the budget that dictates things. The School Committee provides the budget, the Superintendent decides what do with it.
    So, since you cannot source the "50% are fired every year" claim, how about you source where the towns budget for education was cut in a large, meaningful way that would warrant a 50% reduction in staff then?

    Surely THAT data is publicly available, as would critique of it in local papers, given how unusual a massive budget cut year-to-year in total fund (not rate of growth mind you) is in public education spending generally.
    Last edited by Churchill; 06-24-2013 at 02:58 PM.

  13. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by FF2 View Post
    Why were they locked into staffing levels?

    In our town 50% of teachers are pink slipped at the end of the year and brought back if budget allows.
    Your town does that because union rules require sending the pink slip in advance. Here is the issue with your shortfall (we have this same problem in my town), the staffing levels and compensation are locked in by the contract and through State requirements. The board will try to negotiate with the union to scale back some of the benefits/compensation in order to meet budget requirements. If the union says no (they usually do) the only recourse for the town is to lay off as many teachers as is required to balance the budget or take out a bond to cover the shortfall. So in your case the town is using the threat of layoffs to try and get some relief from the union contract. We are having a similar issue with our local police force. The union contract ended 10 years ago but a stipulation in the contract was that it essentially remains in effect until a new one is agreed to. Since the last contract was quite lucrative the union never agrees to a new contract and goes to arbitration yearly to win a raise. Every year they ask for 8% and the town offers 0% and the arbitrator awards 4%. The only way to break the cycle would be to lay off half the officers and no pol has the balls to do it. It's why out police make 120K on average and many make over 180K BEFORE benefits.

  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Churchill View Post
    So you cannot back your anecdotal claim, got it. Shame, as I'd have really loved to read more on this town policy of yours, from both town and Union perspectives.

    You also display your typical lack of real-world understanding of public sector budgeting processes. Guess the accounting dept. isn't sharing their processes with the teachers or their husbands then.


    Please note, I've never called your wife "evil", nor can I judge her talents specificly in the classroom. She puts up with you for more than 5 minutes, so like my own wife with me, she must be a saint amongst women tbqh.



    I've worked in Unions too FF. I know exactly how they work, and who they protect, and who they serve. I saw too often how the low-performing long-timers got every perk, performed well below average, and yet when the rare layoff time came it was always the younger folks let go. And I know what the Unions purpose was, to get more of everything for those same veterans....quality of work/production/productivity was never something they cared about, only more money, more benefits for the lifers....and more spots where "thats not my job, see the contract" can be used to avoid work.

    The Unions does not serve the betterment of education. When i asked you to tell how they do, it's VERY telling that your reply is instead an attack on me for not supporting the Union, rather than an explaination as to how the Union makes our education system better.



    So, since you cannot source the "50% are fired every year" claim, how about you source where the towns budget for education was cut in a large, meaningful way that would warrant a 50% reduction in staff then?

    Surely THAT data is publicly available, as would critique of it in local papers, given how unusual a massive budget cut year-to-year in total fund (not rate of growth mind you) is in public education spending generally.
    I really don't know what to tell you about public sector accounting...Its common knowledge that budgets in Mass are heavily dependent on State aid, which varies from year to year. And to protect themselves towns must pink slip large numbers of teachers by a certain date in case the State Aid doesnt come through. If the numbers are good, they are re-hired in late August. This isnt news or some comlicated accounting.

    Google mass teachers and pink slips and you'll find plenty of info.

  15. #115
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    http://www.theexaminernews.com/40-po...hopac-schools/

    The deficit between the current budget and where the Mahopac Board of Education is in its 2013-14 budget process equates to more than 40 full-time positions, according to Finance Chairman Michael Sclafani, who made the public aware of the situation at the committee meeting on Thursday, March 28.

    “We are at a point of no return,” said Sclafani. “We have cut athletics. We have cut the arts. All that is left now is people.”

    Of the non-instructional personnel 13.5 full-time equivalents (FTE) are proposed to be cut. Additionally 900 hours are to be eliminated from the monitors.

    Although 67 teachers were “given pink slips” this week as notice of potential layoffs, School Board President Ray Cote said that most of the faculty were given them as a precaution.

    “If the public votes down the budget twice, we could be forced to let that many teachers go,” he said. “The contract with the teachers’ union stipulates that we must let them know.”

    The district is not looking to cut its staff by 67 teachers, but almost 26 positions are at risk of being cut under the current considerations including: 14 teachers in grades first-fifth, 1.5 band/orchestra, six teachers at the middle school, six at the high school and one art, one counselor, one physical education teacher and one music teacher.

    With the cuts being considered, the proposed 2013-14 budget is at a 1.9 percent tax levy increase over this year, which is below the two-percent tax cap.

    As a result of fewer teachers, class sizes are expected to reach 30 students per class.

    “I hope you are outraged,” said Scalfani, “We are too. We don’t want to see these class sizes either.”

    The board is going to continue to try to find additional sources of revenue and other non-program items that could be cut.

    The board members asked the community for its help in reaching out to the state lawmakers about unfunded mandates.

    “We need to go State Senator Greg Ball and Assemblyman Steve Katz and have them help us out in Albany,” said Sclafani. “We need to bring them a list of unfunded mandates that work and those that don’t work. Then they need to get rid of those that don’t work. However this will only work if we do it together. We have to continue to work after the budget gets passed.

    The next public budget discussion is during the April 18 finance committee meeting.

    The budget will be passed by the board at a special meeting scheduled for April 23.

    The public will vote on the budget on Tuesday, May 21 at Mahopac High School’s New Gymnasium. The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    Oftentimes pink slips are just precautionary, given in March/April while budgets are being approved. Some keep their jobs come Sept, some don't.

  16. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefst2000 View Post
    Your town does that because union rules require sending the pink slip in advance. Here is the issue with your shortfall (we have this same problem in my town), the staffing levels and compensation are locked in by the contract and through State requirements. The board will try to negotiate with the union to scale back some of the benefits/compensation in order to meet budget requirements. If the union says no (they usually do) the only recourse for the town is to lay off as many teachers as is required to balance the budget or take out a bond to cover the shortfall. So in your case the town is using the threat of layoffs to try and get some relief from the union contract. We are having a similar issue with our local police force. The union contract ended 10 years ago but a stipulation in the contract was that it essentially remains in effect until a new one is agreed to. Since the last contract was quite lucrative the union never agrees to a new contract and goes to arbitration yearly to win a raise. Every year they ask for 8% and the town offers 0% and the arbitrator awards 4%. The only way to break the cycle would be to lay off half the officers and no pol has the balls to do it. It's why out police make 120K on average and many make over 180K BEFORE benefits.
    I think in my town its not so much a threat to layoff...its more covering their asses in case of a drop in state aid. The union contact is actually quite reasonable as over the last decade they have agreed to many concessions to avoid layoffs.

  17. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brooklyn Jet View Post
    Oftentimes pink slips are just precautionary, given in March/April while budgets are being approved. Some keep their jobs come Sept, some don't.
    Its a pretty simple concept really.

  18. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brooklyn Jet View Post
    http://www.theexaminernews.com/40-po...hopac-schools/



    Oftentimes pink slips are just precautionary, given in March/April while budgets are being approved. Some keep their jobs come Sept, some don't.
    Lets take a look, shall we?

    http://www.mahopac.k12.ny.us/resourc...nd-budget-vote

    Link above provides the 2013-2014 Budget Proposal for that Jurisdiction.

    Salary makes up the vast majority of costs, at 54 or so % of spending, with benefits counting an additional 22 or so % (76% of costs directly manpower related).

    Current salary is $61,578,807. Current benfeits are $25,857,948. Total cost, ballpark 87 million dolalrs a year.

    From wikipedia:

    Mahopac is the largest school district in Putnam County, educating more than 5,000 students in four elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school (1600 students).
    So, simple math, Mohopac is currently spending $87 million in manpower costs, giving a per-student cost of $17,400 to educate them in the current budget year (at 5,000 students). Sadly, I could locate no current roll of employment in my brief search to calculate average salary for the jurisdiction.

    The Budgeted salary for 2013-14 is 65,085,351, an increase of 5.69%, or an increase of 3.5 million year-to-year. The Budgeted Benefits is $26,681,430, a 3% or so increase.

    So the jurisdiction is increasing salary by 3 and half mil for the new year, and benefits by 3% but says they'll have to cut 17 Educators and Administrators (14+2+1).

    One wonders how that could be? An increase of 3.5 million in salary, yet a cut of 17 educators? I would think, budget being what it is, that the best thing for the PUBLIC would be to retain all those 17 educators, and simply not increase benefits/salaries for those others as much (i.e. a compensation freeze), thus keeping staffing stable and class sized similar.

    So who do you think is driving the firing of these 17 due to bdget causes? Teh Board? Or Union Contracts that hardwire certain increases thus creating the Budget shortfall in the first place?'

    It's a very interesting topic no matter how it's looked at. But it's vital to see that a reduction in staff may not, in fact, be driven by a reduction in the budget....but in fact by an increase in salary and benfits the Jurisdiction cannot get out from under.
    Last edited by Churchill; 06-24-2013 at 03:34 PM.

  19. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by FF2 View Post
    I think in my town its not so much a threat to layoff...its more covering their asses in case of a drop in state aid. The union contact is actually quite reasonable as over the last decade they have agreed to many concessions to avoid layoffs.
    This is why this issue is very much a local one. Each state has a set of laws and regulations they go by. The issues we have here in NY are certainly not the same as those in other states.

  20. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefst2000 View Post
    This is why this issue is very much a local one. Each state has a set of laws and regulations they go by. The issues we have here in NY are certainly not the same as those in other states.
    Laws or union contract?

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