United Teachers of Northport
April 15, 2010
At last night’s Board of Education meeting, the Board of Education once again blamed the United Teachers of Northport of failing to solve the District’s financial issues by declining the accept the District’s “take it or leave it,” one year salary proposal. Once again the Board of Education and Administration have failed to demonstrate the leadership or willingness to engage in meaningful negotiations that will lead to long term stability and preservation of jobs and programs beyond this one year band-aid approach submitted by the Board of Education.
In offering the one year freeze, the Board of Education, through negotiations, has acknowledged that it has fully funded reserves and is “unwilling” to discuss the utilization of any of those funds for fear that the 2011-2012 school year may be more difficult for the District financially. Yet, during negotiations, the District has also proffered that the economy is expected to improve in the 2012-2013 school year. So why then is the District unwilling to engage in meaningful discussions that the Union has offered during each and every negotiation session seeking a multi year contract that would preserve programs and jobs long term?
The District’s one year take it or leave proposal, by its own admission, does nothing more than postpone the financial problems the District faces for one year. If accepted, in year 2011-2012 the District would, at that time, excess many more teachers and programs and, once again, be right back where we are today, seeking to address these issues long term as the Union has requested. The Union has offered to accept a freeze on next year’s salary, in exchange for a long term solution that would preserve jobs and the programs beyond one year. The Union is appalled that the District has chosen to blame the teachers for its problems rather than working collaboratively towards a solution.
During the April 12, 2010 meeting between the Union negotiators and representatives of the Board of Education, both members of the Board of Education and their representatives refused to discuss anything other than the “take it or leave it proposal”. This is not an example of leadership. A leader would seek a solution that would solve the issues, not grandstand with statements and characterizations, or issue ultimatums.
The United Teachers of Northport continue to be ready, WILLING and able to discuss all options of proposals by both the Union and District to be a partner in a plan for years to come, to preserve jobs and programs beyond one year. Unfortunately, the Board of Education has not, at any time during negotiations, exhibited the same commitment as the Union. Rather, they only want it their way.
While the Board of Education has criticized the Union for failing to take the one year offer to the membership of the union for a vote, the Board has failed to even have a meaningful discussion, while knowing full well that come next year, these jobs and more, along with programs will be lost due to their failure to even discuss a long term solution.
The United Teachers of Northport shall continue to strive each and every day to fulfill the goals of your children, both long term and short term, and we continue to be willing to discuss these issues.