Stand up and Speak for Our Children and Community
We would like to address the current WTC (Work To Contract) that is occurring in Neshaminy School District As we are sure you are aware, teachers have been without a working contract for 2 years now. Though during these two years, they have been paid and received benefits. In June 2010, the teachers implemented a WTC policy, which is in direct violation of the contract they so freely say they do not have. During this WTC, students have not been given any extra help, no assignments have been posted on websites, teachers have taken down their individual class websites, removed decorations from classrooms, did not attend graduation or award nights at the end of the school year, refused to decorate or prepare their classroom for this new school year, and now have decided to not attend Back to School Night. When is this going to end? Parents and taxpayers are pleading with the School Board to stand strong and not “give in” to their demands. We attend school board meetings and state our opinions on deaf ears. We have been told we have no recourse and that though the NFT and teachers firm WTC breaches their job duties and is inevitably a “working” strike, that our hands are tied. Taxpayers and students are being held hostage by a contract negotiation that has simply gone on too long. Parents, in fear of repercussions to their children, do nothing. We are scared and angry, yet we have to send our kids into these schools each day. Where do we go from here? At what point, do parents intervene and have the right to speak for themselves. When does the senior citizens taxpayers’ voice be heard? It is not acceptable to simply say that this happens everywhere and we are to collectively just “accept” it. Can we go beyond our school board and file an injunction against our teachers? The school board won’t do it, why can’t we? If teachers in our school district are the number one paid in this state, why are we not ranked number one. That is a clear indication that though you get paid well, you do not have to perform at the same level. This economy does not allow for pay raises and retroactive contracts and no payment into health plans. Duties of a job that have been performed repeatedly year after year are unwritten and assumed duties of the job. Residents are expected to continue to pay our taxes. We still received our school tax bill and will be charged late fees and eventually foreclosed upon if we do not pay. This has not changed, but the expectation for our teachers to perform has been altered. The NFT President has been arrested and has a court date pending for a DUI. How is it acceptable that this person is still a teacher and representative of what we want our educators to be? Louise Boyd is a Biology teacher at the high school. Is this example of what we want our teenage children to look towards as a leader in their everyday life? Parents need a voice. They need to be heard and respected as the person also responsible for our children’s education. We need the support of our school board to let the NFT and teachers know that we have had enough. You cannot get money from a community who does not have it. Our biggest concern is that based upon today's economic conditions, the teachers cannot expect to be immune. They work for the entire taxpaying base and the majority of taxpayers have seen an economic downturn. Many people are being affected by losing jobs, lower salaries and increased costs resulting in less take home pay. Teachers by and large are a great group of people, and they deserve a FAIR contract. Unfortunately, today a fair contract means giving something back. They probably deserve a pay cut, but we all know that won't happen. Senior citizens and people on social security built this community and they have increased expenses, yet no government increases for two years. Many residents have taken a pay cut or pay freeze in order to keep their jobs. Teachers should not expect a pay raise and need to pay for their healthcare, the same way the people who pay their salaries have. By receiving an increase in their pay to cover paying healthcare expenses, the school district is still creating a negative budget that the taxpayers will be expected to cover. Besides the fact, that taxpayers need to look towards the future and see the upcoming tax increases to cover the loss of the teacher’s retirement fund. Many people lost money in investments, but we are not asking for it to be reimbursed to us by taxpayers. Are the firefighters, police officers and essential personnel of the community being reimbursed with tax dollars for retirement losses? We, the taxpayers are on our knees being held hostage by the teachers. The school board needs to file an injunction against the teachers union to stop this WTC and mandate teachers to reinstate all job duties. These jobs duties specifically include 1. Post all assignments and materials for students on websites. 2. Provide before/after-school or additional tutoring help/resources to students who need. 3. Provide references and letters of recommendations to students. 4. Grade papers and prepare for lessons outside the classroom as not to take up valuable teaching time. 5. Attend back to school nights, graduation, special awards nights, and student orientations etc., associated with your position in the school district. 6. Decorate and prepare your classroom in order to provide a welcoming learning atmosphere for children. 7. Have an open line of communication with parents via email or telephone. 8. Participate/coach intramural sports as done in previous years. A settlement of a contract that also reasonably benefits the community and all other parties needs to be offered. A settlement must be reached that clearly looks at the financial well being of the community as well as school district. It needs to clearly specify exact job duties as to prevent this WTC from occurring in the future. Our children’s curriculum and well-being need to be protected from the greed and selfishness that is occurring in this school district. The teachers, NFT and, respectively the School Board should be ashamed that it has gone on this long. Many jobs of great teachers and support staff have been lost in the process. Many children have been dismissed and discouraged to perform to their highest capabilities. We implore you to not have a two-sided war. Stand strong as a school board, supported by taxpayers/parents, and file the injunction against the teachers and stop this ridiculousness that is only hurting our children. Concerned Parents of the Students of Neshaminy School District.
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