Disappointed with board’s actions in West Chester school talks

Excerpts from letter in Daily Local News, 10/10/13

Like most people who care about our West Chester schools, I am disappointed that the long, long negotiations process has not yet produced an agreement between the school board and the teachers’ union. I’m sure we all hoped the recent fact-finder’s report would spur an agreement, but it did not. In the simplest of terms, that report leaned much too heavily toward the school board’s extreme positions and would leave most teachers in a deteriorated economic state over the term of a contract. From the beginning, the school board’s proposals have been draconian, to say the least; and that has not changed with recent modifications. Appearances suggest that some of the board members are even engaged in a campaign of union-busting, which is hardly the way to inspire collegial negotiations and a fair, reasonable contract….

A couple years ago, the WCASD paid a total of $64 million in teachers’ salaries. This year that number is projected to be about $60 million. That may look good on a budget line-item, but it suggests a policy that does not treat teachers, the heart and soul of any school district, very well. Clearly the resources are there to propose a contract which is more reasonable and more fair to the teachers without giving away the store.

Which brings me to the final point. Maybe it is time to take a second look at the board members who are up for re-election next month. Maybe it is time to cast votes for their challengers, all of whom promise to work diligently for reason and fairness in a new teachers’ contract. I hope voters will at least take a look at the alternatives and what they have to say. And then, of course, they must actually vote. The WCASD really needs some help right now from cooler heads on the board who will abandon union-busting and strive for more professional relations with and treatment of their teachers while at the same time protecting the legitimate interests of the taxpayers….

Mike Hancock, West Chester

read the whole letter at Daily Local News