NFT Teachers Display Frustration Over Contract Impasse

NFT teachers chanted and held up signs at Tuesday's school board meeting.

The on-going contract impasse was a prominent topic at Tuesday's Neshaminy School Board meeting thanks to the Maple Point Middle School auditorium being filled with teachers wearing Neshaminy Federation of Teachers [NFT] navy blue shirts.

The teachers at the meeting marched up the driveway to the school holding signs reading "Negotiate NOW!;" "Only fools attack schools;" "Neshaminy deserves better, let’s work together;" "What’s the ETA on the CBA?"

As the school board members filed into the auditorium, the teachers stood up, held their signs in the air and began chanting "Negotiate."

This public display by the teachers came one day after NFT members authorized the union leadership to potentially call a strike or work-to-contract at a later date. 

Marian Reed, a member of the NFT negotiating team and an 18-year Neshaminy teacher, said that the board's "take-it-or-leave-it approach" is not going to solve the problems. She also said that certified staff in Neshaminy "has had enough" and are "tired of the disrespect" for their profession and the personal attacks.

"It's not just about the money," she said to the board. "It's about professional development, inclusion in the educational process, respect from the board and administration and a shared long-term commitment to educational excellence."

Gail Donahue, Langhorne resident and teacher at Neshaminy High School, said that there has been "no willingness for compromise from the board."

"This is not about teachers and it is not about the professionalism, it's about the money and it's about the cost to the district," Middletown Township resident Larry Pastor said.

"The union leadership is what has lost them respect in the community," Pastor said.

"This union leader has had a three-year assault on our community," he continued as teachers in the audience shouted and drowned him out.

Board President Ritchie Webb said he would have to ask for adjornment and discontinue the meeting if the teachers wouldn't quiet down and let people speak during their allotted three-minutes for public comment.

"I commend the board board on the job that they are doing and standing firm," Levittown resident Mary Anne Bender said.

"But please put the hostilities aside and negotiate ," she said. "I’m not saying give the teachers what they want, but negotiate. And hopefully their union leadership will do the same and put the hostilities aside and think about the children; that’s why we’re all here."

Several teachers in the NFT voiced concern about the Neshaminy Citizens Contract Advisory Committee. Webb said that the members on the committee, which were selected by the board, requested that their identities not be revealed in fear of retaliation against their children. 

Board member William O'Connor, who skyped into the meeting from Seattle, said that he doesn't personally agree with the secrecy of the committee members and that he believes in transparency.

Maple Point Middle School Teacher Deborah Miltro told the board that they have "outsourced" their elected positions by organizing the "super secret counsel." She questioned how a non-elected and hand-picked person could be objective.

"As a teacher I have the right to know. As a tax payer, I have the right to know who is doing the work of the board," Miltro said of knowing who was on the committee.

Tony June 23, 2011 at 12:14 PM
The union goons have started to begin their disruptions . Get that new HR dept. ready for mass hiring when these folks walk out of their present jobs.
Survival In Neshaminy June 23, 2011 at 07:31 PM
Again unbelievable, I don't understand how such educated people don't get what's going on. Know wonder why we rank 203 of 500. You cannot negotiate to a middle ground when your demands are 100% more than what the employer can provide for. You can only make it too the middle ground when your close. The NFT has never disputed the numbers from the school district as far as available revenue goes. You know why; because the numbers are validated and are real, not make believe numbers the NFT likes to use. This board and rightfully so is not going to raise taxes for the sole purpose of giving NFT members raises and benefits above and beyond parody in neighboring districts and that of the community. I as community member will not endorse retro pay plus there is no way to pay for it! The community is not going to vote for increases above Act 1 and the Board elected to use reserves to cover the 2.8 million deficits plus another 1 million to deal with the possibility of a charter school being approved. They felt and rightfully so that tax payers needed a break in this economy and their correct.
Survival In Neshaminy June 23, 2011 at 07:33 PM
For those NFT members that is so worried about a SECRET COMMITTEE what are you worried about. The board asked for members of the community to make suggestions on what the community feels should be in a contract. That’s why it’s called an ADVISORY BOARD. I don’t think for one second that they are writing the contract, they will make proposals and the board will vote to accept them or not. This seems very well thought out and it’s about time Taxpayers, those who pay for everything get more of an opportunity to make a difference other than at the Voting booth in November.


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