The state fact finder hired to make a recommendation for a T/E School District teachers contract says the taxpayers in TE are wealthy and the district should put up more money to support some of what the teachers are asking seeking.
The fact finder is not a mediator per se, but serves a similar function by trying to find common ground between two sides in a labor contract negotiation. Unlike a mediator the fact finder comes up with a settlement without acting as a go-between for talks.
The fact finder in this case is Timothy Brown. In his report, Brown makes comments about the T/E District being among the wealthiest in the state. At several points in the report Brown recommends that the T/E School District find the money for several areas where the district and union disagree.
For example, Brown's report says this about teacher salaries:
As an “outsider looking in” it appears to the undersigned that the District is relatively wealthy and that the School District is a jewel that provides not only a high level of education but also attracts residents to live within its geographical boundaries and thereby supports high property values.
Such should cause the District and its residents pause in considering any effort to underfund the District. Similarly, it cannot be the subject of honest debate that District employees have been and continue to face difficult personal economic conditions. The times demand prudence by all concerned. I believe it is a prudent and good investment for the District to recognize the reasonableness of the Union’s wage proposal, (although not necessarily agree to it) and the valuable contribution of its employees to the mission of the District..
While the details of the report are extensive, the bottom line is that in areas that are among the most important to the teachers: salaries, health insurance, and sick days, Brown basically says the School Board should come up with more money, even if that means asking TE taxpayers for it.
You can read Brown's full report, plus the TEAA's and the T/E School District's response to it in the pdf files attached to the article.
The report is non-binding unless both sides agree to accept the findings without any changes. The union voted to accept the report. The T/E School Board voted to reject the report but will vote on it again on Monday, August 20.
Would you support higher school taxes to pay for teacher salaries and benefits? Tell us in the comments section below.
Monday on TE Patch: A closer look at the details of Brown's report and the areas where the TEAA and the T/E School District disagree.