Friday, March 12, 2010

What Happens When Teachers' Unions Get too Greedy

The following piece appeared in the Northwest Herald. The article speaks for itself. It is refreshing to see the editorial staff of the Northwest Herald come to our side and so strongly too. Seven years ago you would never see an article like this in the Northwest Herald, they would be more likely to speak out against Jim and I.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

D-26 union 
must do part to pare losses

If there ever was any doubt, Monday night’s District 26 school board meeting put the debate to rest.

We now know that, for the District 26 teachers’ union, it’s not about the kids.

Maybe it was before. It certainly isn’t now.


Yes, it’s about that.

An unwillingness to spare some of their colleagues from the unemployment line?

Yes, that’s part of it, too.

But the kids? No. Not even close.

District 26 is faced with cutting $5.4 million from its budget next fiscal year.

More than 70 teaching positions are on the chopping block.

The school board revealed during Monday night’s meeting that it twice had asked the teachers’ union to re-open its contract.

Twice it asked the union to offer concessions in an effort to save some of these 70 jobs.

Twice, the union said no thank you.

The school board asked again Monday night, and presented three options.

Option one involves a simple salary freeze, saving the district $527,599.

It would allow the district to save five teachers – one art teacher, one music teacher, one physical education teacher, and two classroom teachers.

Option two freezes teacher salaries and would require teachers to pay 20 percent of their single medical coverage, resulting in $739,149 in savings. In addition to the teachers saved in option one, three more would be spared – in music, physical education and a classroom.

Option three includes everything in option two plus a rollback of the 2010 salary increase, resulting in $1.36 million in savings. The eight teachers spared in option two would be joined by nine classroom teachers.

Any of these options would be better for the students of District 26 than eliminating the full slate of teacher positions now on the table.

So were members of the the teachers’ union willing to discuss these options, to consider making a slight sacrifice for the sake of the children?

Not hardly. At least not the union’s leadership.

“I don’t know how you can sleep at night,” a member of the union’s impact bargaining board told school board members, followed by, “You have made [this] extremely difficult, if not impossible.”

Impossible how?

The fact is, tens of millions of Americans have had to give plenty back in the midst of one of the worst economic periods of a generation. And with the state of Illinois in such dire financial straits, all public employees should expect to give something back.

We implore the District 26 teachers’ union to stop its posturing.

We implore the union’s leadership and membership to do the right thing here.

In the end, it should be about the kids.

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