Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Webb challenges Boyd to go public with information

In reaction to comments posted on Facebook by teachers’ union president Louise Boyd following last night’s 37th negotiation session between the NSB and NFT, school board president Ritchie Webb said he is “tired and frustrated with the constant half-truths and blatant misinformation being spread by union leaders, especially Ms. Boyd.”

In her statement last night, Louise Boyd claimed that the NFT presented an “extensive fact-laden explanation” which revealed “ready sources of money” the board could use in negotiations. She also accused the Board of manipulating PSSA scores, and said that the Board refused to answer NFT questions and simply terminated the meeting.

Ritchie Webb refuted the union leader’s claims of available funding with the following clarification:

“ [AFT representative] Mr. Gould presented what I call HOPE Accounting. He suggested that the PSSER’s Fund was doing better and that their investments should reduce future increases.

He insinuated that the Board, if we wanted, could take the $ 4,000,000.00 we put aside for PSERS and give it to the NFT. He said this despite the fact that on November 22, 2011, our contribution rate for next year increased from the state projection of 12.19 percent to 12.36 percent. Our current rate is 8.65 percent.

I HOPE he is correct long term, because we are headed for disaster if the states projections are accurate.”

On the matter of PSSA scores, Webb said:

“I have seen two studies using the PA DOE [Department of Education] data. The first study used Math, Reading, Science, and Writing scores to show that our ranking in the state is 245th.

The second study, which was not as detailed, only used Math and Reading. This data set ranked Neshaminy 197th out of 500 school districts in the state.

Both studies showed a significant drop in scores from previous years. Both studies rated Neshaminy 9th and 10th in Bucks, respectively. On top of that Neshaminy High School has not made AYP in over seven years.

I think most reasonable people would conclude that all this data does not shine a positive light on the NFT. However, Louise and company wanted to make PSSA results the bully point of the night.”

Mr. Webb also gave an example of the kind of half-truths the NFT uses to cloud the truth about the district’s finances:

“They suggested that our payroll went down in the past four years, something on which we agree, because we reduced employees, however, our retirement costs and other expenses went up more than our payroll went down.

The bottom line is nothing was presented by the NFT that would allow us to move forward. All they accomplished last night was to use the same bullying tactics that make negotiations much more difficult than they should be.

I can only imagine how difficult it must be for our administrators to deal with the NFT leadership on a daily basis.”

Webb concluded his comments about last night’s meeting with the following statement:

“Time and time again, Louise Boyd and the union leaders have made outrageous and misleading statements to discredit the Board while giving false hope to the rank and file. If the teachers want to let her get away with this, that’s their choice. But quite frankly, I’m getting tired of it.

Louise has no intentions of negotiating and will just continue to put a cloud on everything and try to confuse issues; these meetings should be televised. The Board has been very open and thorough; our presentation November 22, 2011, opened our books for all to see. We are confident everything shown then is completely accurate, and nothing presented last night changed my mind.”