Friday, November 9, 2012

Progress made but key obstacles remain

Last night’s negotiations between the School Board and Neshaminy Federation of Teachers (NFT) featured positive dialogue and important strides toward resolution of the 5-year contract impasse. However, Board President Ritchie Webb cautioned that two important issues remain at large.

“The NFT proposal for special education class size adds $2 million to our annual operating budget. Not only is that unaffordable, we also believe that the NFT plan violates State guidelines thus making it an unviable program.”

“The other area of significant difference involves contract language, specifically on such matters as equal say, status quo, and past practices. The Board remains committed to creating an environment that respects the work and professionalism of our teachers without hamstringing our administrators with prohibitive and counterproductive contract language.”

Mr. Webb elaborated on the importance of contract language by saying, “If our principals are to be held accountable for results, then there can be no doubt as to who holds ultimate decision-making authority within a school building. The Board will never agree to contract language that in any way hinders the authority of our administrators.”

The next scheduled meeting is Monday, November 26, 2012. Between now and then, the NFT is expected to review the Board’s objection to their special education plan, as well as reconsider their insistence of maintaining contract language that supports equal voice, status quo, and past practices.