NFT Makes Teacher Salaries Their Top Educational Goal
While stalling for over 2 years on contract talks with the Neshaminy School District, the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers continues to make higher salaries and free benefits their top priorities.
Teachers in the Neshaminy School District enjoy an average annual salary of $89,075. 44% of the 664 certified staff members make at least $95,923 for their work year of 188.5 7 hour days. The Neshaminy School District pays 100% of the cost of insurance premiums for family health insurance, vision, prescription, and dental for all of their certified employees. The District, funded mainly by tax-paying residents, continues to provide free health insurance for employees even in retirement - until the age of 65. To many, this sounds like an uncharacteristically high level of compensation in this current economy, but to the NFT negotiators this is unfair.
It may surprise many of the residents of the Bucks County school district to learn that the previous level of compensation was derived from a contract written in 2002. The six year term of the previous CBA ended in 2008. And though the teachers at Neshaminy have been working without a new contract since 2008 they remain the #1 compensated district in the State of Pennsylvania. The leadership of their union, the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers, has made offers to the school board that ask for increases in salary until the 2012-13 school year that would raise the $95,923 number to $110,930 per year. They refuse to make any concession that would require financial contributions to health insurance premiums, and continue to demand that tax-payers and the school district provide for their insurance premiums after retirement.
Prior to November of 2010, the NFT Community spent 7 months “working to contract” by spending no more than 7 hours at school, refusing to decorate classrooms or update websites, failing to write letters of recommendation, declining to participate in extra functions such as Halloween parties, ice cream socials, or Veteran’s Day celebrations, and even boycotting the “Back to School Night” conferences where parents have a chance to meet with teachers early in the year. After what turned out to be a disastrous move for both the reputation of the teachers and the agenda of the NFT, they rescinded the WTC action and began speaking with the media. As part of their image renovation initiative, the NFT community had its leadership interviewed by the local paper and media outlets, even though they had repeatedly claimed not to negotiate in public for the past 2 years. They created a small website with limited information. And they started to proclaim their willingness to talk with the board and begin to identify educational goals in light of their contract demands.
It doesn’t take an MBA or an advanced degree to begin to identify the major objectives of the NFT negotiators and it is debatable how educational any of them are. The easiest way to deduce their goals is to compare the differences between their initial offer to the board, made in 2008, and their latest offer made in 2010. The NFT community had initially identified some educational priorities that included smaller class sizes, more special education programs, more preparation periods, and full-day kindergarten in addition to their salary increases, free health care, retirement cash bonus of $30,000, and free insurance in retirement. Now, in 2010, they have withdrawn their request for smaller class sizes. They have withdrawn their request for more prep periods. They have withdrawn their request for full-day kindergarten. They have withdrawn their request for a technical education program in elementary school. Meanwhile, they have maintained their request for increases in salary to $110k a year. They have maintained their request for 0% health insurance contributions. They have maintained their request for a $27,500 cash retirement bonus. They have maintained their request for free health insurance after retirement.
Their latest counter offer is short enough for anyone to read, although anyone who does so should keep in mind that it merely modifies the larger CBA from 2002. All of these documents are available at www.GetRealNeshaminy.com. Get Real Neshaminy provides a simplified overview for parents and tax-paying residents within the Neshaminy School District. It combines social media with helpful suggestions and information to motivate and facilitate an involved community. GetRealNeshaminy.com reminds everyone that it is your children, your taxes, and your votes. It is your school district!
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- Matt Pileggi
- Get Real Neshaminy
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