The Morning Report
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Here are some more details and reactions to the teachers’ union proposal for furloughs:
- Under the plan, though teachers would give up 1.6 percent of their salary for two years in a row by taking three days off, they would eventually regain that money — and then some. Three gradual increases of 1.5 percent, 1.5 percent and 3 percent would, compounded, add up to more than 6 percent. Teachers union President Camille Zombro said the goal is to increase salaries to “comparability in the county.”
- “You’ve got to pay us back with interest,” Zombro said.
- I ran into school board President Richard Barrera, who demurred from talking about the union proposal until he could read the whole plan. He said simply, “This is a good start.”
Barrera is one of several school board members who have said that salary cuts are unfortunate but necessary if the budget numbers don’t improve; Shelia Jackson told me yesterday that she backs the idea of a salary cut, though she wanted it to be a smaller cut or no cut at all for people making less than $50,000. That idea didn’t win over the rest of the board, Jackson said.
- I asked Zombro what changed this year to convince the teachers union that cuts were necessary. Zombro said year-after-year budget cuts were one factor, but she disagreed with the idea that the union had been unwilling to cut before.
“The myth out there is that we refuse to take anything,” she said. “We recognize the district is in a bad place. But we also recognize how much of it is their own fault.” She cited the creation of tiny classes in a select group of schools, a pilot program under former Superintendent Terry Grier, as a poor decision.
- School board member John de Beck was a fan of furloughs last year — and the unionsharply criticized him for the idea then. Now de Beck says that furloughs won’t get the needed savings and will hurt kids too much.
“If that’s the only budget solution they’re proposing, it’s not adequate,” de Beck said. “It doesn’t add up.”
I’m still waiting to read the full proposal. I’ll post any other interesting details or reactions as I get them.
— EMILY ALPERT