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T/E Board Rejects Fact Finder's Report Again

Tredyffrin-Easttown School Board President: "we need two austere years to try to right our financial ship."

In a tense public meeting that included some brief fireworks, the Tredyffrin-Easttown School Board voted for a second time Monday night to reject a state fact finder's report that would have settled the district's teacher contract if approved.

Lamenting that the district is facing the same tough economic times that teachers and taxpayers are grappling with, T/E School Board President Karen Cruikshank and six other board members voted to reject state-appointed Fact Finder Timothy J. Brown's proposal for a two year contract. Board member Anne Crowley, one of two board members who voted to accept the report when the board voted on the report back on August 9, abstained from voting yes or no as a "protest" vote.

The board's vote sends the contract talks back to the negotiating table. Had the report been approved in its entirity Brown's proposal would have become the conditions of a new, settled contract.

At the root of the  board's "no" vote is the cost of the fact finder's report.  Brown's report would have slightly reduced a projected district budget deficit, but not enough to satisfy board members.

Under the fact finder's report district number crunchers say the projected deficit would be slightly reduced in the short term but would still be over $13.3million in the 2015-2016 school year. The fact finder's report would have also given teachers a bonus in the second year while the district's proposal holds teacher salaries flat.

The fact finder's report called on the school district to raise more money to pay for teacher salaries, bonuses and health benefits.

Cruikshank summed up the dilema facing board members saying "we can't tax our way out of these deficits."

"I wish I had good news," Cruikshank told the public and teachers who filled the board room at the District Administrative Audiences.

Tredyffrin Easttown Education Association President Laura Whittaker says the union is "diappointed" in the vote. The TEAA had previously voted to accept the fact finder's report. The contract talks now go back to the bargaining table.

stacey h ballard August 21, 2012 at 11:49 AM
The economy has not just fixed itself. Many people are just getting jobs again often for less pay and digging their way out of debt. Although TE seems like it may be a rich suburb compared to other parts of PA, it has been effected like the rest of the country. The TE district needs to regroup; property values have gone down, so have taxes and other streams of revenue. There's only so much money to go around. Every other industry has had to cut benefits and salaries to keep afloat, how is the school district any different??
Joan Heat August 21, 2012 at 12:02 PM
YEEEEAAAAAHHHHH!!!!! Do not give it to these over-paid teachers that need to go!!
Elaine Matt August 21, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Kudos to the T/E School Board for not approving the fact finder's proposal. We are all facing tough times in the coming years digging our nation out of the tremendous deficit we find ourselves in and many people are finding themselves either out of work, getting a lower paying job than they had, or struggling to make ends meet on a limited income. The union needs to understand that taxpayers only have so much money to spend -- the teachers' union needs to give a little too. Agreeing to pay for health insurance at a higher rate than the 5 or 8% proposed would be a good start -- I paid 20% for my share of insurance, why can't they???
Marc August 21, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Stacey and Elaine, I totally agree with your comments.
Eric August 21, 2012 at 04:44 PM
It's entertaining to hear residents from one of the wealthiest areas in the country complain about their comparatively low tax rate for their top ranked school system. -
Amanda August 21, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Excuse me, but I live in the T/E School District and make 58K a year. My children and I are on an HMO because we cannot afford a better healthcare plan even though I work fulltime. The HMO alone costs us nearly $400 a month. These teachers get pretty much free, primo healthcare, plus pensions that allow them to retire at age 55--when the rest of us will have to work until age 75. I like our teachers but I cannot be taxed anymore to fund the exorbitant pensions of teachers making twice my salary.
Ego_Death August 21, 2012 at 08:11 PM
The teacher pensions are unsustainable and are going to have to be changed. The sooner the better. That is fact... anyone disagree?
Bob W August 21, 2012 at 10:39 PM
The schools are so good because the have a group of excellent teachers. Shame on the board for hopping aboard the idiotic group think that is gripping the nation.
Emily August 22, 2012 at 01:33 AM
I disagree with Bob W's comment. The schools are not good just because of the teachers. The schools are good because of the parents, the kids themselves, and the teachers/administration. Parents and the community set high expectations for their children, make sure that they do their school work and support their learning at home.

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