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Webb: Elimination of the 'Equal Voice' Doctrine is Important

Neshaminy School Board President again reviewed the facts of the "Council Rock" proposal offered to the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers at Tuesday's school board meeting.

Neshaminy School Board President Ritchie Webb again reassured the community that the "Council Rock" proposal is not only affordable, but that it would offer the district savings.

Read more: NSB Credits Policy Change for Improved PSSA Scores

However, aside from financial aspects of the proposal, Webb addressed the "highly contentious" issue of equal voice.

"The NFT position is that equal voice guarantees that teachers' voices are heard in district issues that affect their working conditions and also our students," Webb said.

But Webb said the reality is that equal voice has "hamstrung our principals and administrators because they no longer have the authority in their own buildings."

Video: NSB President Ritchie Webb Addresses 'Council Rock' Proposal

"How could we possibly hold them accountable?" Webb asked.

A recent ruling from an arbitrator indicated that "the union's contractual right to equal voice supercedes the district's right to a final say of no," Webb said.

According to Webb, to bring "true education reform" to Neshaminy the "elimination of the equal voice doctrine is important, if not more important to our next contract as any financial issue."

Read more: NSB Promotes Jacqueline Rattigan to Assistant Superintendent

"We must build a process that allows our teachers to voice their opinions freely while maintaining the ultimate and undeniable decision-making authority of our administrators," he said.

Both sides will resume negotiations Thursday, Sept. 27.

Nicole Jenet (Editor) September 26, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Do you agree with Webb's statements about equal voice? Should it not be included in a new contract?
former teacher September 26, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Removal of equal voice is a no-brainer. You cannot achieve success in any endeavor with a 'committee' approach. Someone has to have the final word. When an employer/supervisor makes a final decision, he/she cannot be neutralized by a self serving subordinate. It is understood that the NFT is looking out for themselves. That is as it should be. That means that they are not looking out for the students when faced with that choice. A smart administrator will listen to input from subordinates and implement suggestions when deemed feasible. Evaluation of success or failure will reflect ultimately on that administrator. Too much failure should result in that administrator being removed.
former teacher September 26, 2012 at 06:24 PM
The NFT will fight this tooth and nail (and past practice as well). They will never succeed. So the end result will be a few more years of rancor. The pain brought by the NFT and it's refusal to surrender power will only hurt the students and the less than max teachers. Louise Boyd can continue this fight indefinitely because she still collects $95,000 and free health care until she leaves or is voted out. She will never give up the power.

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