Earlier today we learned that the NFT filed a request with Judge Robert Baldi seeking his intervention in our contract impasse. While I am not surprised by this move, I am disappointed by the hypocrisy of union negotiators as they claim it is the School Board that is not negotiating in good faith.
The last proposal from the NFT would have cost us over $21 million in the first year alone! That increase is more than 12 times the taxing authority we are currently afforded under Act 1. Even if we raised taxes to the Act 1 limit, we would still fall short by nearly $20 million. We could slash every nonessential curriculum program in business, music and art, and still we wouldn’t have enough money.
As if the costs of the NFT offer aren’t daunting enough, the union doesn’t even want to acknowledge the staggering $100+ million jump in Neshaminy’s PSERS contributions** over the next 10 years.
Recent actions by the union negotiation team demonstrate they have no desire to help us achieve an affordable, sustainable contract. Lead negotiator, attorney Tom Jennings, has missed 4 of the last 5 negotiation sessions. And NFT President, Louise Boyd, admitted on Facebook that she arbitrarily skipped a recent session because she didn’t like how the meeting was progressing.
The NFT can complain all they want that the Board is being inflexible because when it comes to our students, we are inflexible. The bottom line here is simple and clear – we are trying to preserve, if not improve, our educational programs; the NFT’s contract demands will decimate them.
When you consider all the financial and educational concerns confronting Neshaminy, it’s quite obvious which side isn’t negotiating in good faith. The Board is trying to save a school district. The NFT is trying to protect the status quo.
(**) Currently the State reimburses school districts for 50% of their PSERS contributions, however that contribution is subject to change or even elimination.