Sunday, December 8, 2013

CEA Response to District's Letter

The school board meeting scheduled for tomorrow (the 9th) has been postponed until next Monday, December 16th. As everyone checks the district’s website for news about school closure, we can’t help but notice that the district’s email, previously sent to all the staff, has been posted on the home page. One would think that sending such an email to all employees would be sufficient, but perhaps they wanted to cover their bases in case any teachers didn’t read their email. In case that’s a concern, we should also disseminate the CEA’s response as broadly as possible. Here is the letter the CEA sent out in response.

December 3, 2013
From the CEA Bargaining Team

All CEA Members,
We want to thank the District Bargaining Team and Board of Directors for encouraging you to contact us if you have any questions about the current negotiations situation.  It’s important that all interested parties have access to the most accurate information possible as we go forward.

A few clarifications: The district's letter stated that the district’s proposal offers something “equivalent to or slightly above the total compensation packages provided in comparable districts.” This simply isn't true. The proposal offers increases which are larger than those agreed upon by some of those districts which have negotiated contracts this last year, but the total compensation in our district would still be lower than almost all of those districts.
The letter also stated that, as resources increase, needs increase. It is our opinion that this is also inaccurate. The needs existed before the increased funding, and the legislature was trying to address those needs. The needs remain essentially the same. In the past, the district has survived financially by cutting the pay of teachers in order to meet those needs. State funding is finally on the upswing. Senate bills requiring more rigorous teacher evaluations, proficiency-based teaching practices, and the district's decision to adopt a new grading system and program demand more time, energy, and dedication from Central School District's educators.  No one is disputing the difficulty all teachers face in continuing to provide the best education for the students in this district.  However, growing enrollment numbers, class size increases, and the short school year are issues that still persist.  These are the issues that place immediate demands on teacher workloads and hinder student success.  These are the very issues at the forefront of negotiating a fair settlement. We believe the district should maintain focus on the needs the legislature was trying to address, like FTE, a full school year, and retaining the best teachers.

Lastly, we were very disheartened when the district announced that they could no longer make any movement and called for mediation. We are glad to hear about the district’s hope that both parties can come closer together during mediation so this situation can be resolved, and we interpret the district’s stated desire to do so as an assurance that their team will come into mediation with a willingness to make movement so this can be resolved quickly.

Again, our thanks to the district for directing you to us. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact a member of the CEA bargaining team. We're proud to serve our excellent teachers.

Your CEA Bargaining Team
Jane Swann at ACES 
Holly Boyles at TMS
Chrissy Eichelberger at IES
Krysia Bliss at MES
Benjamin Gorman at CHS

If people in the community would also be interested in the most accurate information about the state of negotiations, we encourage you to follow the district’s advice and contact the CEA at Also, please attend the board meeting rescheduled for the 16th.

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