Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Finally, the truth . . .

In the NW Wednesday section of the Seattle Times a reporter finally acknowledges what we have known since the legislature finalized the budget. The title of the article tells it all.

Schools’ dilemma: Workers don’t have to take pay cuts state passed

I blogged about this dilemma here, here, here, and here.
The article is focused on conversations between the Seattle Teacher Association and the district on the legislative pay cut that we know is actually a revenue cut to the district. The teachers in Seattle want the district to cut elsewhere and maintain salary at current levels while the district says it needs to make the cut because there are very few other places to look. They do not want to forgo buying new textbooks as suggested by the SEA president because it would simply be a one year fix.

The article says that few districts have completed negotiations on the potential pay cuts. Fortunately, we have agreements with our bargaining units. We are in agreement with the spokesperson from WEA quoted in the article.

The Washington Education Association — the state's largest teachers union — says it understands the state's budget challenges but any salary cuts for teachers should be paired with fewer work days, just like the furloughs for other state workers.

"It's not fair to expect teachers to work for free," spokesman Rich Wood said.

Our agreements are based on a combination of grandfathering some of the components of total salary determined by the base, furlough days equivalent to lost compensation, and supporting each of the bargaining units with similar district commitments. It is nice to have this behind us as we enter the summer break. I believe that we have honored the intent of the legislature while demonstrating concern for our teachers by honoring our commitment in some areas of total compensation other than base salary. I am truly appreciative of the leadership shown by all three associations in this work and those representing the district. The collaborative nature of our culture made this possible in a time frame not being met by many districts.

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