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UPDATE: NFT Plans to Strike Again

NFT members are planning to go on strike Monday, June 4.

The Neshaminy Federation of Teachers President Louise Boyd has notified Neshaminy School District Superintendent Louis Muenker of the union's intent to call a second strike this school year beginning Monday, June 4.

The NFT's spokesperson Bob Schiers confirmed with Patch that the union has notified both the school district and the state's Department of Education of the intent to strike for a second time this year.

According to a NFT press release, the decision to go on strike again came after "careful review and consultation with its membership."

“I am outraged that teachers would cause potential disruption to our children’s school year and summer vacation. Once again the NFT has shown that whatever it is they are fighting for, it is not for the benefit of our children or their educational programs,” School Board President Ritchie Webb said in a press release.

According to that press release, a negotiation session between both parties is scheduled for May 31, however Webb noted that the school board will not negotiate with the union while it is actively engaged in a strike.

The school board

“We have two dates scheduled for talks, and we’re open to having more meetings. I cannot understand why the NFT would enact such a militant action aimed at our kids and their parents when we’ve agreed to continue good-faith negotiations,” Webb stated.

“We remain focused on the next negotiations session on May 31,” NFT President Louise Boyd said in the union press release. Boyd continued by saying that if the May 31 negotiation session produces "no movement from the district," that the union has determined that a strike is the best course of action to reach a contract.

"It’s shameful that the district has again led us to this point with its unwillingness to come to the table with a serious offer. Once again, they have failed the students and the taxpayers of Neshaminy. Teachers have compromised on dozens of issues including healthcare, totaling tens of millions of dollars in savings, but all the district has done is say no, including their disparaging, stonewalling reaction to the neutral arbitrator’s recommendations. We think this community deserves a better answer than 'no' after four years of bargaining,” Boyd stated.

As Neshaminy prepares for a second strike this year, Webb emphasized the need for Harrisburg to take action against the threat of labor actions that disrupt education.

“Our children’s education should be everyone’s priority, and our situation should serve as a wake-up call to Harrisburg that anti-strike legislation is urgently needed,” he said.

Graduation is scheduled for June 13 and the final day of school is scheduled for June 15, however a strike could compromise those dates. The state's Department of Education would determine how many days thy would be allowed to go on strike. They would only be able to go on strike so many days that students would complete 180 days of instruction by June 30.

former teacher June 05, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Well, Bill, I'm afraid that it isn't that simple. In NSD alone no teacher has ever been fired for poor performance in at least the last 20 years. Statewide, the Dept of Ed has reported that 99.4% of teachers are rated satisfactory. "If there is a teacher that is a poor teacher they can be fired." In theory that sounds great. It isn't how things have been done in NSD. Are you aware of how the concept of tenure makes it near impossible to fire a teacher? How do I know what teachers are good and bad? Are you serious? I firmly believe that some teachers in NSD are great; some not so much. I do stipulate that this is from my own personal opinion. Other parents/kids might have different opinions. This should be a small aspect of real evaluations. We can discuss this if you want. And part if this includes administrators. If they aren't doing their job, they should be terminated.
feasterville resident June 05, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Feodor, if your comments weren't so comical, I would have thought you a complete moron (dolt) using the English language in a George Carlin act. Too hysterical. I believe that you really think you know the solution. Does it give you a rush to bash people's opinions? Bottom line, taxpayers can not afford any more increases. I have looked over the financial statements, the NSB is justified with the offer that they proposed to the NFT. By the way, I am a graduate of Wharton, just in case you bash my credentials.
Bill Smith June 05, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Sorry former teacher I was replying to the longtime resident. I have heard your piece a few too many times. It has gotten a little old and repetitive. I know you like to hear yourself talk.
former teacher June 05, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Bill, if anyone would care to read the previous posts, they will see you dodge questions better than Muhammed Ali in his prime. I guess I do most of the 'talking' and you do a credible job of avoiding things. Just one simple question: should the NFT accept a CBA that is equal to/less than the current amount of tax dollars coming into the district?
feasterville resident June 05, 2012 at 03:10 PM
bill smith, you are very condescending. I agree with Former Teacher. My mother and daughter are teachers. My mother was voted by faculty and students "Teacher of the Year" in Pennsylvania. I have cousins that are teachers and one a principal in the public school system. Teachers, parents and students do know what teachers are qualified as well as those who should find another profession. It is true that the teachers who are below standard, are not terminated. If an egregious act is committed then a dismissal would be implemented. Otherwise, they just float until retirement.
feasterville resident June 05, 2012 at 03:14 PM
bill, this is a forum concerning NSD, ergo, statements concerning educational field. Otherwise, this pertains to the government as well as most unions.
feasterville resident June 05, 2012 at 03:15 PM
This would never occur in the private sector. There is no such thing as tenure = job performance.
Bill Smith June 05, 2012 at 03:40 PM
You are right this would never occur in the private sector. This is politics at its finest from both sides.
former teacher June 05, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Bill, in the private sector, people who WTC would be fired. People who didn't measure up via regular performance evaluations would be fired. In the private sector when the budget came in as $14 million more than funds comining into the company, people would be downsized. None of this happens here in NSD. I'm not sure it is a fair comparison between the private and public sector. You can call it politics. I'm saying there are limited dollars. The NSB doesn't want to spend beyond that. The NFT wants more. Bill, here I go again being repetitive. I find myself repeating the question because you are 1) missing the question or 2) evading it. I promise I'll stop repeating myself as soon as you answer the question: Just one simple question: should the NFT accept a CBA that is equal to/less than the current amount of tax dollars coming into the district?
Bill Smith June 05, 2012 at 04:23 PM
I will let you know I am not a fan of the NFT or the board right now. I believe at this point it is better off in the court system. Let the court decide and neither side can argue anymore. This could go on for many more years. I know the both sides think they are doing the right thing and at this point it is all about winning. The court decides and if taxes need to be raised some that is what happens. I must say I am still not happy that we do not have a new high school. We can't blame the teachers for that one.
former teacher June 05, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Bill, trying to have a conversation with you is like trying to nail jello to a tree. It's messy, frustrating and lacks rewards. No matter who you are a fan of, it is fine. What if the 'courts' decided that the NSD should pay the teachers more than we can afford? In a prior life I taught Social Studies. My understanding is that the legislative branch of the government determines what the electorate will spend. In this case, the elected entity is the school board. They were voted in to office to handle this. Like you I would like to see an end to this mess. However, I'm not so impatient that I'm willing to have an end at any price. Why won't you answer my question?
Valerie Schubert June 05, 2012 at 05:17 PM
I wonder why "diddling" seems to be your favorite phrase. You need to look at facts not continue spouting your idiocy without knowledge of the situation. Wait.. are you one of those people who just post on sites spouting nonsense to stir up conflict to see what kind of reaction you get? No wonder your favorite word seems to be diddling!!.. LOL!! You just need attention and unless you come up with something intelligent and fact bases to say, I for one will not pay attention to you any longer. You obviously have no knowlege of the facts and just want to "diddle".
Bill Smith June 05, 2012 at 05:18 PM
No comment on the first sentence. There is enough of that to go around on this blog. The courts will not take either side and come up with a verdict and it is done. Did the prior board not come up with the last contract that people are up in arms about. So I should believe that this new board can handle this.
Valerie Schubert June 05, 2012 at 05:25 PM
To Bill: The courts cannot decide. Even if a judge gets involved (which is what the NFT says they want) the judge cannot do anything more than rule for negotiations (which the NSD has always offered). The courts cannot rule for Binding Arbitration. It is not allowed (except for police & firemen) in Pennsylvania. Under Article 3 Section 31 of the current Pennsylvania Constitution only police and firefighters can have their contract disputes settled by compulsory binding arbitration. State legislators are not allowed to make a law that calls for teacher compulsory binding arbitration without first stating they want to amend the Constitution. To suggest otherwise would be to violate heir sworn oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution
former teacher June 05, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Forgive the frustrated comment. Yes, the prior board put us into this financial mess. And the electorate responded by voting in people that represent the will of the majority at this time. I would prefer that our government continue to operate as it has for a few hundred years. It is far from perfect. In any event, this discussion isn't useful. There is no binding arbitration in the state of PA. Until there is, can we stick with the reality of the situation? Care to answer my question yet?
Bill Smith June 05, 2012 at 05:49 PM
That is up to the NFT. If they are not happy with what is being offered and from the teachers I talk to they are not. I would say they do not agree and do not sign. From what I know the NFT has given in a little more than the board. The problem is if only one side is giving in it will not work.
former teacher June 05, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Thanks for that, Bill. Now we are back at square one. The employer has only 'x' dollars to spend. The employee wants more than 'x'. Originally they asked for X+30. Then they moved toward the 'middle' and asked for X+20. Then they moved again and are asking for X+10. Every offer is more than the district can afford according to the NSB. I agree with you. If the NFT is not happy with the offer, they should not sign. If the district can't get the NFT to deal with the reality of what is available, they should not sign an agreement that exceeds income. See we can agree! When the time comes that enough max teachers have retired/rolled off and enough less than max teacher outnumber the max teachers, then maybe a deal will work. (Or maybe income to the district will go up.) It could take years given the stance of both sides. That is the reality.
Bill Smith June 05, 2012 at 06:14 PM
So I guess this is where the district is now. It is funny that I wish I would have researched the district a little more before we moved into the area. It was not our idea that we would stay here for that long. I have one more left in the school system. I do not see these problems lasting this long in too many other districts. I think back to when we fought for nicer fields and better playgrounds and a new high school for the kids. There was never money allocated for that. To me this is just another one of those things where they hold out and things are never done or it costs more money later on.
Longtime Resident June 05, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Bill SMith, If you read my posting you would have seen that I did not say older teachers are not good. I said " In some cases the older teachers dont keep current and end up just going through the motions of teaching". That comment was from past experiences (my own and my childrens) with teachers that went through the motions and did not seem to have their heart in it anymore.
Longtime Resident June 05, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Valerie Schubert If you are referring to me you need to look up further and see that was my response to Feodor Tiorlenko and I just used his word "diddling".
Bill Smith June 05, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Oh, I did not realize just going through the motions is maybe a compliment. They are required to take continuing education classes. I know of many older people that for example do not use computers very well. Are they just going through the motions of their job because everyone uses computers well.
Longtime Resident June 05, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Bill....Maybe to you that is a compliment. If their jobs require a specific level of computer skills and they don't reach that level maybe they are just going through the motions...but that is not the same thing. Just because a person takes continuing education classes does not meen they are current, doesn't meen they are a good teacher, just that they met a requirement. You can twist my words as much as you want but the bottom line is that I responded to a comment about lower paid teachers equal bad education for the students. I stated that older more expensive does not always equal better education, you will find lesser quality teachers at all levels of pay and at all age levels. So go on and keep twisting my words and avoiding the questions others have asked you....
Bill Smith June 05, 2012 at 06:56 PM
It appears to me that when a teacher is older and maybe does not have the newest skills they should get rid of them. They cannot perform and cost to much money. Is that what you are saying. You want to bash teachers and it seems you prefer to bash older teachers. I do not know your age and occupation but I hope you do not run into someone like you down the road when you are older and maybe cannot perform the way you did when you were young.
Longtime Resident June 05, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Bill Smith.....NIce...keep twisting things to match you point of view. I NEVER said that older equals bad, I NEVER said that the older teachers should be fired, and I am NOT bashing older teachers. You are very good at deflecting so that you dont have to answer the questions that former teacher and others have asked you. So go on and keep twisting statements to suite you needs....
Bill Smith June 05, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Not matching my point of view just commenting on your post. I have answered all the questions that I was asked. " In some cases the older teachers dont keep current and end up just going through the motions of teaching". That comment was from past experiences (my own and my childrens) with teachers that went through the motions and did not seem to have their heart in it anymore.
Lori Ferrara Wentzel June 05, 2012 at 07:35 PM
I think we can all agree that the last contract should never have happened it was not fiscally responsible. This one needs to be teachers pay a chunk of their health care premiums knowing their contributions will go up when the premiums go up and retirement needs to be decreased. All of this would be keeping with what is going on for the majority in our country today.
Colleen S June 05, 2012 at 08:11 PM
PART ONE: Has anyone read the Courier Times today? There were several good articles about the strike, The Learning Center and The Instructional Opportunity Period. Also the Courier's editoral section called "The View" used their space to comment on the NSD as it pertains to the school board NOT having the tools it needs to develop the lean budgets that hard times demand and us taxpayers can afford. The Courier firmly believes that, "Mandating balanced school budgets without giving school boards the authority to trim staff makes no sense ....whatsoever. This comment stems from Pennsylvania schools being banned from laying off teachers. Teachers can be furloughed; which means they can't be laid off for economic reasons. In other words, because a school district needs to cut expenses teachers can only be laid off if educational programs are cut." So the school boards are forced to cut programs in order to lay off teachers. So we are always going to hurt the kids it seems as long as our state legistature does nothing to change/modify how the school boards get their budgets balanced. So cudos to our local State Rep. FRANK FARRY (a Neshaminy HS graduate) for co-sponsoring House Bill 1369 that would effectively outlaw teacher strikes in Penna.
Colleen S June 05, 2012 at 08:32 PM
PART 2: The Bill is in committee waiting action. Also there is an "Open Letter" on page A6 of the Courier to the parents and the taxpayers of the NSB laying out the is-what-it-is as to exactly what is at issue. I threw up in my mouth a little after I read it. These teachers (in my humble little opinion) are out of their f-ing minds! The NSB must hold firm as I know the taxpayers want and need them to. Taxpayers will not be made to feel hostage to anyone or any organization basically disguised as thugs belonging to a gang disguised as the NFT.
Valerie Schubert June 05, 2012 at 11:57 PM
I wasn't referring to you!.. sorry for the misunderstanding! I was definitely addressing my comment to Feodor Tiorlenko.
My2cents June 06, 2012 at 02:02 PM
I am a graduate from Neshaminy High School, and my heart goes out to the children and parents being impacted by the ongoing issues surrounding the contract dispute. I no longer live in the township, but have been following this, and the NFT demands seem so out of line with what their counterparts get in other area districts.

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