Teachers vote themselves jobs

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Teachers vote themselves jobs

Postby Dennis King » Tue Mar 08, 2011 11:44 am

If there was ever a reason to privatize schools, last night was the best example. Facing a 1.5 million cut in their budget due to the runaway cost of teacher pensions, the school board made a modest cut in the budget. They proposed a cut of $501,000 from the budget and it was amazing to see all the teachers and paraprofessionals come to speak for their right to keep their jobs. Then came the parents and their liberal allies who believe there is not such thing and spending too much on education. These people said they would be happy to spend more, go ahead, raise taxes, we love it was their mantra. Sure some lone voices of reason spoke up, surprisingly, it was from the ENTIRE school board and school administration. Some brave taxpayers also came to support this cut which ironically would not have been necessary if only the teachers were willing to give concessions on the retirement.

Having people who can vote themselves jobs and raises is the problem with public education. I recall the 4 days it took to clear the snow in NYC since the unions intentionally slowed down to prove a point; the result, people died but since the union flexed its power, nothing was done. If this was a contracted vendor, they would have been fired and most likely referred to the DA's office for prosecution.

Now I want to make it clear I am not against teachers, heck I was one many years ago but I worked in a private school and saw just what could be done.

Take all the bragging that is going on about our 25% improvement in math and reading scores. So now only 60% of our kids can't do math, really? Are we so out of touch that we think having 40 percent proficient in math is a good thing. We pay approximately $20,000.00 per high school student, Trinity does it for $8,700 and the charter school in town for $5,500 so why is it they have scores more than double our school with far less money! (charter school 98 proficient in math and their big concern is the 2% that did not make it).

Just what are we getting for our money?

Sadly the public schools will continue to compare themselves with other PUBLIC schools instead of private schools which excel far beyond the public schools. Some say it is because they hand pick their students but that only explains part of it. Believe me, Catholic school had its share of slow learners, the big difference was the teachers would not accept anything less than excellence from ALL their students and those expectations along with their belief in us to success made us believe it too. Now I am not saying everyone is right for parochial schools but there could also be trade schools, special education schools (the SB stated one student was costing the district $500,000.00 a year, sure hope I heard that wrong. An easy fix would be a home teacher for academics and then a mainstreaming afternoon program for integration, Now I do not know this student but just want to point out there are other ways to provide the same service and we should look at them.

How about privatizing building and grounds maintenance. Seems to me, before I would remove a School Psychologist, a pink slip to a custodian would be preferred.

For years I have heard Ken say "the town voted for it" to justify spending over $20,000,000.00 for a new school or for 21 percent raises over 3 years so we could be competitive but deliberative sessions like last night point to what happens in the real world. Concerned parents who are scared their kids will not get all they need (just like we were scared into paying for a 2 grade middle school cause we were gonna "loose certification") come to the mike along with all the teachers and support staff to ask for more taxpayer money, after all, it is for "the children"

Well when you can spend 1/4 and get better than double the results as does the charter school in Merrimack, well then it is clearly not about money. No, the real issue is the very reason the SB had to act, it is the pension cost. In NH, each retiree gets over a million dollars more than they put in, Who pays the difference? We you and me, that's who.

Last night we saw the reason we must change. More of the same is not in the cards. We must move to school choice. The best part, we all save money, our kids will be far better education, competition for the best teachers will actually result in them making MORE but we will end up with only the best and those mediocre teachers will not find a place in this new reality.

Imagine, bragging that 60% of your 11th graders can't do math. That sure sets them up for the world we live in, just go to Shaw's and give them some extra change to end up with an even dollar, unless they put it into the cash register (aka computer now), they are totally lost. We all shake our heads and wonder why this is so but if the kid was from the charter school, he would have the number in his head, just the way I was taught. Of course this student is probably working for a defense contractor or computer company making much better than minimum wage.

Yup, there is a big difference between public and private education and I hope as we go forward, we can move to school choice for all.
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Re: Teachers vote themselves jobs

Postby tim dutton » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:01 pm

Private schools have the ability to pick to pick and choose who they want to attend. Public schools must provide an education at all levels.

I saw a pretty good mix of speakers last night, both educators and non educators at the microphone.
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Re: Teachers vote themselves jobs

Postby Dennis King » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:08 pm

tim dutton wrote:Private schools have the ability to pick to pick and choose who they want to attend. Public schools must provide an education at all levels.


Tim, this is one of the mantras I hear often but I do not buy it. First, the selection process mostly due to the large demand, they only have so much space. The other thing is something I observed first hand while working as a teacher for a private special ed school. Tim, it is not all about money, you must see that. 70% of the school budget is on TEACHERS SALARIES and BENEFITS. That is what is killing us, and of course all the regulations, some good, some outdated, and some just plain dumb.
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Re: Teachers vote themselves jobs

Postby RayWhipple » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:20 pm

I was there last night and have to ask where was the outcry last night? Where were you Dennis? You are very vocal about school issues but did not show up but be the first to complain when things did not go your way. Seems there was very few people that stood up and were for the cut vs those who were against it. What ever happen to "the will of the people" ? This is the way our system works. Yes it may need fixing but it is the best in the world.
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Re: Teachers vote themselves jobs

Postby Dennis King » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:33 pm

RayWhipple wrote:I was there last night and have to ask where was the outcry last night? Where were you Dennis? You are very vocal about school issues but did not show up but be the first to complain when things did not go your way. Seems there was very few people that stood up and were for the cut vs those who were against it. What ever happen to "the will of the people" ? This is the way our system works. Yes it may need fixing but it is the best in the world.


Ray, I sure wish I was there but I had to work to pay my taxes. I did watch it and when it came time for the vote, I sure wish they asked for a secret ballot. It is one thing to go with the room but in private, the social consciousness has less effect, it could have gone the other way but the concerned taxpayers were so cowed by then, they just let it happen.
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Re: Teachers vote themselves jobs

Postby RayWhipple » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:38 pm

Dennis King wrote:
RayWhipple wrote:I was there last night and have to ask where was the outcry last night? Where were you Dennis? You are very vocal about school issues but did not show up but be the first to complain when things did not go your way. Seems there was very few people that stood up and were for the cut vs those who were against it. What ever happen to "the will of the people" ? This is the way our system works. Yes it may need fixing but it is the best in the world.


Ray, I sure wish I was there but I had to work to pay my taxes. I did watch it and when it came time for the vote, I sure wish they asked for a secret ballot. It is one thing to go with the room but in private, the social consciousness has less effect, it could have gone the other way but the concerned taxpayers were so cowed by then, they just let it happen.



Let me ask you Dennis, what if the people that voted against the $501,000 actualy beleived in their vote and had nothing to do with who was there? There is a lot of guessing that people only voted the way they did was just because of who was there. I don't think people are as swayed by that as you may think.
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Re: Teachers vote themselves jobs

Postby Dennis King » Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:08 pm

RayWhipple wrote:Let me ask you Dennis, what if the people that voted against the $501,000 actualy beleived in their vote and had nothing to do with who was there? There is a lot of guessing that people only voted the way they did was just because of who was there. I don't think people are as swayed by that as you may think.


Ray, I think you are wearing those union colored glasses. I am sure there are parents who are willing to pay ever more so their kids get the best education as they equate money with quality. The crowd was clearly a union crowd and once you tip the scales in favor or people who can vote their own raises, well the die was already cast.

I suspect many other taxpayers would have liked to be there but like me, they had to work to pay the very taxes the teachers just raised by over a half million dollars. It never ends, the only real way out is school choice!
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Re: Teachers vote themselves jobs

Postby Stan Heinrich » Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:13 pm

Dennis you are wrong again.
There was NO SECRET BALLOT on the vote to cut money from the operating budget.
Everyone raised their hands with their voter cards.
The vote was not even close.
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Re: Teachers vote themselves jobs

Postby Dennis King » Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:17 pm

Stan Heinrich wrote:Dennis you are wrong again.
There was NO SECRET BALLOT on the vote to cut money from the operating budget.
Everyone raised their hands with their voter cards.
The vote was not even close.


Stan, you must read what I post before you jump in to slam me. I said there should have been a secret ballot. As for close, looked like at 60 to 40 vote to me but if they had a secret ballot, it might have gone the other way.

In the future, please take the time to read what I posted before you gleefully attack me.
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Re: Teachers vote themselves jobs

Postby RBarnes » Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:31 pm

Lynn, do you have the counts of how many people showed up last night?
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Re: Teachers vote themselves jobs

Postby lynn » Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:25 pm

170
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Re: Teachers vote themselves jobs

Postby RBarnes » Tue Mar 08, 2011 3:24 pm

Thank Lynn.

So Dennis, if the vote was 60/40 as you believe (and from what I saw last night you're likely close) then that would be about 102 to 68. If just around 35 more people showed up the vote could have gone the other way. Considering there was an article in the telegraph last week stating they planned on motioning to cut $500,000 no one can claim they didn't know to show up.
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Re: Teachers vote themselves jobs

Postby Dennis King » Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:33 pm

RBarnes wrote:Thank Lynn.

So Dennis, if the vote was 60/40 as you believe (and from what I saw last night you're likely close) then that would be about 102 to 68. If just around 35 more people showed up the vote could have gone the other way. Considering there was an article in the telegraph last week stating they planned on motioning to cut $500,000 no one can claim they didn't know to show up.


Rick, my point was that with a secret ballot, you might have been able to win even if it was 86 to 84. People will vote "the room" especially when others are watching them. I also do not like the fact that since this is technically a public hearing, teachers who do not live in town can also come and sway the public with their presence.

As it stands now, the teachers costs us $501,000.00 to save their jobs but since the state cuts could be 1.5 mil and we can not spend any more than the budget allows, they may find out they will end up losing these jobs anyway but of course not as much so any way you look at it, they are ahead and those wonderful pensions keep on rolling along paid for by the hardworking taxpayers but then again, it is "for the children"
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Re: Teachers vote themselves jobs

Postby Fitzie » Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:06 pm

deleted...wrong thread
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Re: Teachers vote themselves jobs

Postby andysinnh » Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:19 pm

First, directed specifically to Dennis:

I still am astonished that with all of the grandstanding you've done on the forum, and the knowledge that the DS was happening, that you didn't take the time to plan ahead, and come and state your case. Frankly, I'm disappointed, especially since you seemed have to enough cycles to watch the vote (which took all but 30 seconds near the end of the meeting). And your concept of a "secret ballot" was a card you tried to play 4 years ago (if I remember correctly) and it didn't work then - so why would it work now? If you were there, you'd have known that nobody in that room would have changed their vote whether or not they were behind a curtain - it was that clear-cut.

Second, about what will happen next:

It doesn't take a rocket scientest to predict that the SB will likely still debate whether or not to issue "pink slips" prior to 15-April (deadline for notification). Why? Because if they don't, any adjustments required once the state funding is known after 15-April could not utilize headcount reductions, since 15-April is the date you must notify a current teacher or support staff employee that you won't be renewing their contract. Based on my knowledge of the budget, there's no way you could come up with $1.5M or $2.3M of non-headcount numbers without dramatically impacting something in the day-to-day functioning of the schools. One could debate whether the proposed headcount adjustments discussed last night were the proper ones or not (I know I personally wasn't fully bought-in to all of the target areas), but you have to hand it to the SB that they at least had the intestinal fortitude to put something out there and be proactive about the budget future. It will be interesting to see how the SB chooses to move forward with this budget problem prior to 15-April, and while I honestly hope headcounts aren't dramatically cut, I feel that they could be. As such, outside of the fact that the budget number for the ballot stayed the same, the net impact around teacher positions may be the same as the amendment intended, once the dust settles.

andy

ps- for the record (if my observation was correct) the majority of the bud comm supported the amendment - because we're keenly aware there will be a budget problem.... And I don't think many of us were really happy having to vote the way we did....
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