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Archive for Monday, February 25, 2013

Lawrence school board votes to oppose anti-union bill

February 25, 2013

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Lawrence school board members voted unanimously Monday to send a letter to a Kansas legislative committee opposing a bill that would limit teachers' collective bargaining rights.

"Now is not the time to be attacking their rights as individuals," said board president Vanessa Sanburn.

House Bill 2085 is currently pending in the House Committee on Commerce, Labor and Economic Development. The panel held a hearing on the bill Jan. 29 but has not yet voted on whether to send it to the full House.

It would provide that the method of evaluating teachers, as well as the length and number of teaching periods in a day, would no longer be subject to collective bargaining. It would also remove the right of unions to be the exclusive bargaining agent for teachers. And it would give teachers who choose not to belong to the local union the right to negotiate their own contracts individually.

"This has nothing to do with improving education," said board member Rick Ingram. "Part of it, for me, is philosophical. The chipping away of collective bargaining rights really bothers me."

The letter, which will be sent to members of the committee, says the bill is "ill-timed given surrounding circumstances, and quite simply seems to be a solution in search of an unillustrated and unjustified problem."

Deena Burnett, president of the Lawrence Education Association, the bargaining unit for teachers in the Lawrence school district, read a statement opposing the bill and urging board members to endorse the letter.

"Remember that these attacks are being orchestrated by people living in other states and other cities who have a whole different agenda," Burnett said. "And that is for public schools to fail, whether by cutting funding, enacting ridiculous laws and-or splintering the very people who work to ensure the success of all students."

No one spoke in opposition to sending the letter.

In other business, the board:

• Heard a report from Superintendent Rick Doll that the district will soon begin interviewing candidates for the open principal positions at Pinckney School and Sunset Hill School.

• Received an annual report from the Lawrence Schools Foundation.

• Received a report from the board's Finance Advisory Council.

• And recognized students who have been named National Merit finalists and students who have received other national scholar recognitions.

Comments

ku4me2 1 year, 10 months ago

It's too bad the superintendent doesn't agree with the boards sentiment. At least the BOE shows our teachers some respect and treats them as professionals.

Kathy Getto 1 year, 10 months ago

A bit defaming, I would say. Have any proof for this allegation?

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

Thank You USD 497 BOE for demonstrating the right for teachers to support unions. They need all of the wage protection that can be garnered.

The war against unions is a war against wages in America.

buffalo63 1 year, 10 months ago

"it would give teachers who choose not to belong to the local union the right to negotiate their own contracts individually." And with whom would they negotiate? The school board, superintendent, principal, janitor? How much time and favoritism would that take? Who would make the decision to give me a $10,000 raise and the teacher in the next room a $100 raise. The only thing I did was give all the students A grades, never assigned homework, taught to the test, kiss someones a$$, didn't take attendance, etc, etc. Nothing like tearing the education system apart and creating chaos so schools can be privatized.

weeslicket 1 year, 10 months ago

right. except that the intent is to drive salaries down; raises won't happen.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 10 months ago

Is this the same board that wants the taxpayers of Lawrence to give them a $92.5 million bond in the form of a blank check?

KSManimal 1 year, 10 months ago

"$92.5 million" and "blank check" are contradictory. Make up your mind. You can't....oh, never mind. That's just too damn easy.

Paul Wilson 1 year, 10 months ago

Unions were instrumental in building this country in the 20th century. Their greed and laziness will be instrumental in the next depression in the 21st.

You liberals who deny this...what make and model of car do you drive? There is a single glaring reason south east Asia controls our auto market. The greed and laziness of a union. Period. More pay and beni's for crappy, expensive products. Same as our money pit of an education system.

KSManimal 1 year, 10 months ago

All three of my vehicles are American-made, Porky.

orbit 1 year, 10 months ago

Yes, those greedy workers at Goodyear should be happy to make the same wage as a Chinese worker. Except at that wage they couldn't buy the product they produce. Or any other product. And then they would become "takers" not "makers". Come on, let's here the refrain, "they should just be thankful they have a job".

elliottaw 1 year, 10 months ago

And you could also argue that the greed of the auto makers to send those jobs over seas so they could continue to pocket billions of dollars has something to do with it to

chootspa 1 year, 10 months ago

You do realize that most Asian and European car makers also have unions and did before they started dominating the US car market? They just don't have unionized American plants. That is the fault of the unions, perhaps a fault of laziness for not organizing hard enough, partially the fault of "right to work" states that encourage freeloading laziness on the part of workers, but certainly not a fault of greed. Well, not the greed of unions, anyway.

kuguardgrl13 1 year, 10 months ago

When you're "Fixing Or Repairing Daily" or "Found On the Road Dead", I'll blaze past you in my Toyota assembled in Canada.

tomatogrower 1 year, 10 months ago

Good for the BOE. When I worked in the schools, the union teachers were the hardest working. They were more likely to take extra classes and training to better serve their students. Many of the non union teachers were coaches who kept their jobs, because they were coaches. Their teaching was lousy. Even the kids found their classes lousy, but they loved them, because they could sit around and talk sports all the time. Now this is only an observation from a couple of schools in which I worked, so I can't make any generalizations or assumptions, like all you conservatives do when you see a couple of teachers leave right after school once or twice, and assume all teachers aren't doing their work, or that these teachers are leaving to go home or get drunk. One of the teachers I worked with actually walked the administrators through the process to fire a teacher who was not doing his job. They gave the guy a couple of chances to improve, following the procedures laid out in their contract, but the union did not stand in anyone's way when the bad teacher was fired, because the administrators had justified the firing, and weren't just firing him for giving a detention to a student of the school board president.

KSManimal 1 year, 10 months ago

THANK YOU, Lawrence Board of Education, for having your heads and hearts in the right place and doing what's best for students. Teacher's working conditions and student's learning conditions are THE SAME CONDITIONS.

homechanger 1 year, 10 months ago

So public sector employees should be able to vote themselves raises and better working conditions right out of the private sectors pockets? Nope. Don't like the pay or conditions find a new job.

weeslicket 1 year, 10 months ago

homechanger: So public sector employees should be able to vote themselves raises and better working conditions right out of the private sectors pockets?

teachers have never gotten to "vote themselves a raise". the school board does, in fact, have the final approval of any negotiations. also, teachers may not run for the school board.

perhaps you were thinking of your elected state legislators and friends.

weeslicket 1 year, 10 months ago

homechanger: So public sector employees should be able to vote themselves raises and better working conditions right out of the private sectors pockets?

teachers have never gotten to "vote themselves a raise". the school board, in fact, has the final say on any negotiations. also, teachers may not run for the school board.

perhaps you were thinking of your elected state legislators and friends.

tomatogrower 1 year, 10 months ago

How do public sector employees vote themselves a raise? Yes, elected officials do, but public employees have to work with their administrators within a budget given to them by the elected officials. They have no other way of raising money. Of course, if you work in the private sector and your company is making lots of money and it's CEO is making a couple hundred times your pay, but they don't give you any raises, I would say you need to organize with other workers and demand your share that makes the company successful. And notice I do call "company" an it. They are not people.

chootspa 1 year, 10 months ago

No. That's what the legislators get to do.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

"It would provide that the method of evaluating teachers, as well as the length and number of teaching periods in a day, would no longer be subject to collective bargaining. It would also remove the right of unions to be the exclusive bargaining agent for teachers. And it would give teachers who choose not to belong to the local union the right to negotiate their own contracts individually."

In other words, eliminate the current, highly organized and transparent process based on professionalism and mutual respect with a highly chaotic, secretive and arbitrary one that will rely more on backstabbing and favoritism totally controlled by administration, in which the most narcissistic administrators will be the best equipped to prevail. Teachers will take one lesson from that-- keep your mouth shut and just go along to get along, students and quality of education be damned.

tomatogrower 1 year, 10 months ago

Very precisely said. That's it exactly. Teachers, you better start giving the bosses kids A's, whether or not they deserve it, or you won't have a job.

ravenjayhawk 1 year, 10 months ago

only those afraid of their abilities have to have others keep them safe

Greg Cooper 1 year, 10 months ago

Or, perhaps, those sure of their abilities have a need to gather together to help others like them retain the ability to protect themseloves from those who have grave doubts about their own abilities.

tomatogrower 1 year, 10 months ago

Do you think that a policeman should be fired, because he pulled over the mayor's son for drunk driving? Do you think a teacher should be fired for giving a bad grade to a student who deserves it, but is the son/daughter of someone influential?

Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 10 months ago

Unions are done. They only serve now as bastions for malcontents. Unions do not care about their workers, only the survival of the union. Why in the would would you want to buy your own wages? Ask the twinkie guys how the union treated them.... it is just a matter of time till they will treat you the same way.

What is really sad, is our parents and children don't have anyone protecting them. They are caught up in a bureaucratic game ran by a bunch of very over paid administrators. The quality of education would skyrocket if we had a preformanced based educational system. The money the district would save could be used to bus our children to school, those same children that were crapped on partly because the generous with everyone elses money voters in town demanded a public transportation system to continue the goal of total dependency on services instead of self reliance.

Good teachers will bubble to the top and be compensated. Great teachers will be rewarded better. The strap hangers will get the opportunity to persue a different degree field. Everyone wins except those that would not win anyway.

tomatogrower 1 year, 10 months ago

Unions did not hire incompetent CEO's and managers who were clueless why their product was no longer selling. Unions made a lot of concessions long before their strike to help save the company, only to realize that their CEO and executives were keeping all the money and not allowing it to trickle down, not to mention, making stupid decisions that were destroying the company. CEO's don't have a union, but lousy CEO's still make too much money and walk away with a nice severance package, and then go out and get another job where they can do even more damage. So your "scenario" doesn't seem to function in real life, does it?

Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 10 months ago

It is amazing those who take no risk, know better how to spend the business owners capitol. The same capitol that funds your paycheck when times are slow, you are not productive at work, you get sick or incur expensive medical costs. Complain about trickle down when you really have no idea what that means except giving you more money instead of balancing the costs of employment with those of machinery and equipment.

Real life is full of malcontents that show up to the job most days of the week, stoned or hung over spreading hate and discontent among fellow workers, when in fact it is that CEO that has been funding your habits for very little thanks. Isn't it wonderful that entry level employees know more than those who own the business?

Alyosha 1 year, 10 months ago

Holy cow, dude - fact-less emotional tirade much? Talk about "spreading hate and discontent" — your off-topic comment does that in spades and adds nothing helpful to the discussion or topic.

Hyperbolic overgeneralization does nothing of any value to form or critique public policy. Why do you even bother, if you bring nothing to the discussion but "hate and discontent"?

tomatogrower 1 year, 10 months ago

CEO"s getting overpaid and a lousy severance pay for doing a lousy job doesn't have anything to do with funds for improving equipment. These same CEO's get paid regardless of whether "times are slow". In fact, those "twinkie" executives are getting a bunch of money for dismantling a company that might have been saved if it hadn't been for their ineptness. So they get paid for a lousy job, and are laughing all the way to the bank. It's just that they negotiated their own contracts. So you want teachers to do the same. Hmmm, so if math teachers in western Kansas say we will need $150,000 to teach, because we could go make more money somewhere else, you, as a taxpayer are going to pay that? There aren't exactly people lined up to teach in Western Kansas.

Alyosha 1 year, 10 months ago

"The quality of education would skyrocket if we had a preformanced based educational system."

That's a potentially helpful bit of input. If you could only point to real-world examples where this has happened, so we can evaluate the truth of your assertion. Get back to us with impartial evidence of how the "quality of education would skyrocket" and you'll be on your way to being an actually productive helpful member of this discussion community!

Katara 1 year, 10 months ago

Cant_have_it_both_ways... "Why in the would would you want to buy your own wages?"

You obviously haven't a clue about CEOs and the boards they are on. It is a very incestuous relationship.

tomatogrower 1 year, 10 months ago

Can't, your attitude is an example of the new business model, actually, not new. It's the attitude of the 1800's Industrial Revolution. Workers are just an evil necessity. If you could do the business without them it would make you happy. I mean they expect to have a roof over their heads and food in their belly. And they expect you to pay for it, even though what you are really paying is for their services, just like you pay a mechanic or a doctor. What a pain, right? I sure feel sorry for your employees. You consistently downgrade them. I'll bet you never even tip.

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