Monday, March 22, 2010

EASD Board Meeting Scheduled for Easton High School Auditorium Due To Anticipated Size of Attendance

Posted by: Noel Jones

This Thursday, March 25th is the big one--this time the school board will be ready for the crowd that overflowed the board room last week, made up of residents opposed to the tax hike, and parents and teachers opposed to painful program cuts. EASD meetings from now until June will be held at 6:30pm in the Easton High School auditorium at 2601 William Penn Highway while this budget crisis and tax hike are hashed out.

The EASD proposed an 11.85% tax hike in their preliminary budget to the uproar of residents. At last week's meeting the board pledged to not exceed the 3.6% state cap in their final budget to be passed in June. To do this will require $13.1 million in cuts. At last week workshop, after presentations on cuts from various departments, the total proposed cuts added up to roughly $2 million. With $11. 1 million to go, the board voted to give Superintendent Susan McGinley the authority to cut programs and their corresponding teaching positions at the next meeting, since the teachers union has yet to reopen
negotiations on their contract or consider giving up their annual 5% raises. Expect some fireworks this Thursday!

For those of you who were not able to attend the EASD workshop last week when presentations on program cuts were given, can catch up by reading my previous post or better yet, watching the web cast on the EASD web site.

For more comprehensive background on this topic, including news articles from the last couple of years, check my previous posts:

Problems Leading to the EASD Tax Hike: Part I--The Vulcanos
Problems Leading to the EASD Tax Hike: Part II--PSERS
Problems Leading to the EASD Tax Hike: Part III--Pat Fisher and the AFG
Problems Leading to the EASD Tax Hike: Part IV--Teachers Union Contract
Problems Leading to the EASD Tax Hike: Part V--Cyber Schools

If you care about stopping this tax hike in this tough economy as well as wasteful spending and mismanagement in the school district--our biggest source of local taxation--mark your calendars for this Thursday at 6:30pm, and we'll see you there--then we can all go to Porter's for a pint afterward!


Anonymous said...

Asa teacher in the district I must speak out to some extent over the verbal bashing we are getting for our contract.

1. The school board voted for our contract it did not go to arbitration or mediation and it did so because based on other districts in our area a teacher in Easton earned much less.

2. Teachers salary increase is a small amount compared to the waste at the administrative level and the fat salaries they receive.

3. Were teachers asked for their opinions when important decisions that are now costing us taxpayers millions of dollars? No. For example, the physical plant upgrades in our district over the last ten years have been absurd. Bond issue after bond issue have been floated for buildings and upgrades that are way too Taj Mahal for our district. And don't get me started about the $90 million plus middle school that should have been a new high school with the old high school renovated for a middle school.

Teachers are the professionals that deal with the students in a direct contract environment. Decreasing the number of teachers and the classroom size will go up and educational standards will go down even further.

There are many deeper issues in education when it comes to the financial problems our district faces.

noel jones said...

Anon 12:05--thanks for posting--it's good to have teachers' voices involved in this community debate.

Please know:

1. no one is disparaging the importance of teachers in the lives and education of our community's children
2. residents are absolutely outraged at administrative waste and financial mismanagement in the district--previous posts and their comments on this issue outline those issues as well
3. the reality is that the lion's share of the general budget goes to salaries and pensions.
4. residents that i have spoken with would much rather see teachers be flexible on their raises than to cut programs to reduce this huge proposed tax hike when so many residents have lost their jobs or taken pay cuts themselves. we are asking teachers to be willing to sacrifice, as residents are having to sacrifice, and yes, administrators must sacrifice too. we must do this as a community, together.
5. residents are also appealing to state reps and senators to urge PSERS reform to help bring tax relief as well.

Dennis R. Lieb said...

To the un-named teacher...

I too thank you for entering the fray. I have many friends - past and present - who are in the teaching profession at various levels. I know the horror stories of what is expected of you and how it can all backfire when you try to do your job, some dumbass kid decides to make you their scapegoat and the administration takes their side.

The issues of how we got here are varied and interconnected in a DNA string too complex to unravel. I do know one thing for sure. The district should have never entered into the folly of the athletic facilities expansion when a hell of a lot of other stuff should have been prioritized above it.

Before that property was sold to the school district I contacted the owner's representative personally to see if they would list it for sale with my office. Why they refused made no sense since at the time the real estate market was expanding and we could have gotten them the best deal.

A few months later the EASD entered the picture and everything seemed to have changed. I wonder why?


hopeunseen said...


Thank you for chiming in. Your comments accentuate the rift between teachers and administrators. In between the two rivals the hard working tax-exploited Joes are crushed like grapes left to bleed more of what we simply don’t have. Sparing words and posturing have done little to ease the burden particularly in this economy. What I have yet to witness from either of your corners is any ownership, responsibility or sacrifice. You may bruise each other with jabs and uppercuts, but at the end of the round it is the tax payer TKO’d in the ring not the teacher supping on a plump contract or the administrator with the fat salary planning on building the eighth wonder of the world.

These are tough times and adversity begs for sacrifice. In my world our family has had to suck up pay cuts, increased contributions to benefits, higher taxes and wage freezes. Despite others in comparative industries who are earning more we are biting the bullet, tightening our belts and cutting back on our expenses.

Along with the administration I expect teachers to do the same. We don’t have the privilege of marching into the ‘boss’s office’ and expect a better contract simply because the guy across the street is paid more for the same widgets I make. In my world I have to justify the bottom line. I have to prove and demonstrate to the ‘company’ not only through personal performance but through strategic planning that what I do will directly add value, sustainability and credibility through a creative, progressive process in order to SATISFY the expectations of the ‘stockholders.’

One of the biggest problems in Easton is that the ‘stockholder citizens’ are the very last to be considered when shaping policy and floating bonds. Otherwise, teachers and administrators would be proactively protesting the Board’s decisions, engaging the public, raising objections during public meetings and believe it or not, offering to make sacrifices, tightening their belts and to wait out the storm.

Can you think of a better lesson to teach our children?