Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 24th: the betting line on teachers’ contract

The slow roll continues.  After last year’s bending to the budget environment then by deferring a general increase, the prediction from School Department officials was that the two year contract would be re-negotiated by January of this year.  Oops!; that didn’t happen; we wonder why.

Ho-hum.  All Brunswick School Board members who believed it would, and even worse, told local taxpayers to buy into it, have shown how vulnerable they are to teachers’ union tactics. Including the Board Chair, who wept in public over the budget ‘cuts,’ as if there was actually a cut.

The School Board, tough negotiators they are, unanimously (is there any other way?) approved the proposed contract at their meeting in early May.  They then sat in on the joint budget workshop with the Town Council on May 9th, at which not one detail of the contract was revealed, but many tears, figurative or literal, were shed by various parents, board members, and real estate agents.

Fast forward to the Council meeting on May 16th, and you have essentially the same circumstances: not a single detail of the contract disclosed, but testifiers speaking of the devastation of our school system and Brunswick’s desirability as a hometown because we weren’t increasing the budget by $3 million compared to last year.

Recent inquiries to the School Board and School Department administrators about contract status have netted the same results they always do: we have no information; it’s not under our control.  Nothing like the employees running the company, right?  Now that’s leadership!  It’s a damn good thing we have elected officials watching over things for us!

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. The longer the establishment hides the details, the more you can be sure the union will get the entire $1 million in property taxes, or perhaps even more.

And the way things are going, you can also be sure that the details will be withheld not only beyond the budget approval meeting the Council will hold this Thursday, the 26th of May, but in all likelihood, until after the June 7th referendum on the School Budget.

Why subject themselves to public exposure, which might threaten landslide approval of the school budget by one or two votes?  Far better to have the budget win approval, and then allow the local press to cover the new contract as a minor note in mid-section when nearly everyone is gone elsewhere.

‘Let me be clear’ (where have we heard that before?); we are extremely cynical about the way this entire process works, how the public is manipulated, and how officials who ought to know better and be standing up for us are neutralized.

On the bright side, we are coming to believe that there is a national consensus building that our public education system, or as I call them, government schools, are in decline, and that major reform is mandatory if the ‘American dream’ is to survive.

Here’s some casual reading to illuminate this view:

Bloomberg Businessweek

Cato post


The Failure of American Schools

Maybe you’ll ‘learn’ something if you read them.

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