Weekend Poll: Keeping Up With the Joneses! Should AAPS Follow Saline’s Lead and Re-Open The Teachers’ Contract?
In Ann Arbor, salaries and benefits for teachers and instructional staff account for 71 percent of the District’s operating expenses.
AnnArbor.com reported that Scot Graden, (tip o’ the keyboard to Ed Vielmetti) Superintendent of the Saline Area Schools, was directed by the school board to ask the District’s unions to re-open their contracts. The idea, of course, is to revisit the wage and benefit agreements in light of the failure of the WISD millage of November 3rd, as well as the cuts in per pupil funding made by the Michigan State Legislature. The millage was rejected by 58 percent of the county’s voters. In Saline, 61.4 percent of voters refused to support the 2 mill “enhancement.”
Scott Graden was quoted in the AnnArbor.com post as saying, “Now it’s time to take action.” Opening the contract between the unions and the District is one form of action. Recently, Ann Arbor Public School Superintendent Dr. Todd Roberts sent home a letter to parents in which he wrote that though the millage failed, District officials would do their best to make sure that any cuts made were kept as far from the classrooms, as possible. Interestingly, the tot who brought home the letter shared a heart-warming story in which a teacher had shared her letter from Dr. Roberts concerning the failure of the millage with her class. That letter from Dr. Roberts, the tot reported, threatened larger class sizes, teacher layoffs, and program cuts.
You may know that the most recently-approved AAPS teachers’ union contract “froze” wages. It did not, however, do away with millions of dollars of “step” increases for years of service, scheduled to be paid out over the course of the agreement. In addition, the latest contract increases the amount of money the District contributes for teachers’ health care. Teachers may choose how they want to spend that money. That is offset by the contract clause that if teachers choose the lower-priced HMO, they’ll get money back from the district. This is a riff on the benefit-about-town that pays employees cash who opt out of a company’s health insurance program (i.e. the employee is covered by her/his spouse’s health insurance plan).
Want to see a copy of the most recent teacher’s contract? You’ll have to contact the AAPS District and ask for a copy. The most recent contract is not posted to the District’s web site. Here a link to the 2006-2009 agreement, however.
If the UAW can do it, should the Ann Arbor Board of Education members direct Superintendent Roberts to ask the District’s unions to re-open their contracts? What do you think A2 politicos? How would you vote on the issue if you were on the school board? How would you justify your vote? Leave a comment and let us all know.
Want to email the 2009-2010 Ann Arbor Public School Board of Education members? Click here (after you vote!).
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