Untenable, harmful, devastating; three adjectives Nampa Education Association president Mandy Simpson uses in response to the school district's contract offer. That offer includes 14 furlough days.
The state’s third largest school district is in negotiations for next fall’s labor agreement and district officials hope to cut a lot of money in teacher salaries and benefits. At the conclusion of a year dogged by an accounting error induced financial crisis, the district says it still needs to cut nearly $3.5 million to arrive at a balanced budget for next school year.
In addition to the furlough days, Friday’s offer included a 5 percent reduction in money paid for supervising extracurricular activities, like coaching sports. There were also suggested ways of reducing the district’s contribution to health insurance and other benefits.
In a written response Simpson calls the offer untenable for teachers who she says are being asked to take on an unreasonable burden. It’s harmful to students, she says because they will have less time in the classroom with their teachers. And Simpson describes it as potentially devastating to education in Nampa because it comes at a time when expectations for students are increasing. That she says will make it more difficult for Nampa students to keep up.
But Simpson says Nampa teachers realize they need to make concessions and are ready to negotiate in good faith. The union will have an opportunity to present a counter offer Tuesday evening at the next negotiation session.
Here is Simpson's full written statement.
“We are disappointed that the Nampa School District has chosen to put forth a proposal that is both untenable for the district’s dedicated teachers and harmful to its students. The district’s teachers recognize the need for sacrifice on everyone’s part in order to deal with the unfortunate budgetary shortfall, but teachers and students are being asked to take on an unreasonable burden—one that could have a devastating impact on public education in Nampa.
A simple connecting of the dots indicates that compulsory furlough days and other drastic cuts will result in less classroom time for teachers, which will in turn lead to negative effects on the education of students. At a time when educational expectations and standards are rising, the Nampa School District has taken an approach that will make it much more difficult for district students to keep up. In addition, the short-sighted proposal would make attracting and retaining quality teachers extremely challenging.
The Nampa Education Association has consistently tried to be flexible and collaborative in finding solutions to the financial crisis created by the administrative and accounting errors of district officials. We recognize the need for concessions on the part of Nampa teachers to help alleviate this regrettable budgetary issue, and stand ready to negotiate in good faith with the district.”
Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio