Tuesday, November 6, 2007
We have a drug and alcohol problem in our school district, our communities, and our region. Already this year I have held fourteen superintendent's hearing for drug and alcohol related offenses. There is no one type of young person involved. To help us all gain a better understanding of the issue, I will be hosting an an event on Tuesday, November 13 at 7:00 p.m. in the Midlakes High School auditorium. Hope to see everyone there.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Well, it looks like we finally have a settled contract. The outline for successful negotiations is to the left. It works so well, especially during the summer sessions. We were able to institute the three tier drug plan which will save the district thousand of dollars a years, even though it will cost some teachers more money who are on maintenance drugs with no generic. We are also able to spread out the retroactive pay over a long period of time by claiming that it's too complicated to do all at once, so we have to do it year by year and only give the teacher a little bit at one time. That should allow significant interest payments to accrue in our account at the bank which is windfall money to the school district. Class sizes are at a maximum for intermediate and middle schools. Hopefully no one will move into the district. Lots of special ed needs this years which are peppered throughout all of the class rooms. That way all teachers share the load equally and we don't have to hire any additional teachers or aides. Lastly, I would like to thank the school board for my very generous 6% raise. When you do a good job and save lots of money, you are rewarded.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
One of the many sticking points in the contract negotiations is the Health Care issue. We obviously want to contain cost. One of our illustrious teachers has just presented me with some articles in the D&C about how, many industries are suffering as a result of cutting back on their employees health plans. Seems that the companies save money up front but are now spending even more that they saved because of absent, unhealthy employees. All of this traced directly to the reduction of health care. The implication is that less health care, more costly doctor visits, and more expensive drug plans has a direct effect on the health of the employees. NO. Once again, we are being mislead. The cost saving to this district is very large and our teachers are very healthy as evidenced by their records. I don't think we member of the board will be giving in on this issue.
You may have read the headline this week about how the NYS Education Department is going to send Million of $ to various school districts to help bolster their level of teaching. Midlakes won't be applying for the additional funds for several reasons. #1 We would have to agree to spend it on expanding or enhancing our existing curriculum. Here we are, trying to save the taxpayer money and the state wants us to spend more. #2 We would have to submit our teachers contract to the state for their review and that's not going to happen because we don't have a contract. #3 The state wants more help for the lower achiving students. We've been striving for several years to decrease the number of identified students by delaying the identification process. Most parents in this area aren't aware of their childs rights and don't advocate for intervention. We all know that the earlier the intervention is, the more successful it will be. But, this all costs money that we, school board members, want to save everyone.
Monday, June 25, 2007
The graduation hoopla is slowly fading. The retirements parties are likewise fading as are the "old guard" teachers. The new New York State standards are going to require teachers who are more creative and inventive. This gives us a great opportunity to complete our project "Out with the old, in with the new". This program will give us new blood in teachers at a cost saving to the taxpayre. More and more of the older teachers are finding it difficult to adapt and we have several new teachers who would love a position here. Enjoy your summer.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Yes, as of July 1st of this year, our district's teachers will be entering the third year working without a new contract, but everything is running smoothly. When I go home at 4:30 pm, I marvel at the number of teachers who are still busily working well after the end of their official day. And have you ever noticed the piles of stuff they take home to work on? There have effectively been no consequences to the school district resulting from the BOE and the administrators' refusal to negotiate in good faith. Not even wearing black on Monday or denim on Friday has changed anything. I'll be triumphant in the long run, and this community loves me. After all, I am the BOSS.
How did I wind up with only one art teacher for the entire primary and secondary schools? That's easy to explain. You see, I needed to cut a position in the past and the art area is not mandated so it was a logical target. Unfortunately the person who was expected to retire is still hanging in there no matter how many students she has in her work load. To keep the other teacher in hot standby for the art position I moved her to the new position of "Dean of Students" until the art position opens up for her. Clever move?