Monday, May 9, 2011

And that state budget . . .

We are waiting like everyone else for the legislators to reach agreement with the Governor on a 2011-13 state budget.  Like you, we understand that the road block is between the senate and the house, specifically around dealing with education reductions and worker's compensation issues related to disability.  Who will prevail?  Will it be the house freeze on salary schedule placement or the senate's proposal for a three percent across the board salary cut? 

Speaking with contacts we have with more information leads us to believe that the senate may be looking at reducing their proposal to a 1.9% salary cut.  If this salary cut is paired with reductions to the 180 day school year requirement so less pay comes from less work are you in favor of it?  I struggle to support any agreement that reduces the school year.  For us, it could result in loss of our waiver days that are necessary to support our change efforts and implementation of Classroom 10. 

Should the budget compromise include a salary reduction coupled with a reduction in the 180 school year requirement?  Or, should the compromise include freezing placement on the teacher salary schedule.


Jonathan said...

Your post has generated discussion amongst teachers today. We all understand the difficult economic times that our district, the state and the nation face. I have not put in enough time to decide this issue, though, but I did want to share a thought with you.

I was thinking about many of our amazing classified professionals today. They are an invaluable asset to our learning community and have suffered from the furlough decision made with their last contract. The classified members generously accepted the furlough to support the district in tough times. Many are currently facing hardships and are trying to make ends meet on a salary that, in my opinion, does not reflect their relative importance.

As you continue contract negotiations the next two days, I hope that you will find ways to demonstrate the belief that I know you share with me: our classified staff is the best and deserve a lot of credit for Tahoma's outstanding reputation!

One way to demonstrate this would be to restore the days that were furloughed previously. I know money is tight, but this is not a giveaway. By restoring these days, our schools get more hours of support. This is a value added expenditure. Plus it shows good faith to those who were willing to sacrifice before.

Another way to show our respect to the classified staff is to get their salaries moving towards a living wage. They so deserve this.

Our legacy is not the buildings in which we work, but the people inside.

Thank you for listening to my thoughts, and I wish all those involved in the current negotiations the best.

Scott Mitchell said...

Mike, I have some thoughts on the whole idea of pay cuts and furloughs.

1) When government and city agencies have taken pay cuts in the last few years they have also had furloughed days. Public has accepted that and actually been supportive. When we talk about teachers and furlough days though, the public is not supportive at all. They want the same product for less money. They want the same number of days, if not more, for education.
2) The nation talks about having more school days to stay competitive yet we keep cutting funding. Do more with less. I just can’t wrap my head around this.
3) Cutting days could cause an even bigger inequity among school districts. A school district that can afford to absorb the cuts may not cut school days. Whereas, another district cannot afford the cuts so they will have to have a shorter school year. Who will the districts be that do not cut? Probably ones that have a high socio economic area. Who will cut? Those that need the days the most because they have a struggling population.
4) Another thought for teachers. Our responsibility pay is based on an employees base salary. If there is a pay cut to your base there could also be a pay cut to your responsibility pay, your per diem pay, and your mandatory pay. So really you could be looking at a total across the board pay cut.
5) As educators we want to be here for kids. Less days would not come from loss of student days in Tahoma but rather a loss of waiver days since it appears that the bill would require districts to first use those days as “furloughed days”. Are we willing to not work these waiver days? Are we willing to not have that training? Self directed time? Team Time?
Anyway those are my thoughts right now. A lot to think about and digest. Education is changing in an ugly way and I think it is a cheap shot that Olympia wants to put their cuts back in the laps of the school districts and associations to battle out. Pretty weak in my opinion. Please continue to contact your legislators and let them know how you feel.

Seeking Shared Learning said...


Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Yes, we have great support staff in our district and we value the relationship that we have with PSE leadership. Though these are very difficult economic times for public school districts, we are searching for ways to continue this relationship and to demonstrate their importance in our work.