Bell to Bell

Filed in Delaware by on May 19, 2009

I’ve been trying to write a post about the Delaware Education Association‘s Bell to Bell Week and I’ve been stimied. Teachers throughout Delaware (except Delmar — thanks News Journal) are only working from the start of classes to the end of classes — bell to bell — to protest Gov. Markell’s proposed pay cut for state employees, specifically teachers.

For my family, this means that two events scheduled for this week have been canceled. To tell you the truth, I won’t miss sitting in that stuffy auditorium at all. My boy is  excited about all of this as his teacher is having the students participate in  Bell to Bell Week — no homework!

And this is all I got.

. . .  I know how hard teachers work . . . I also know that the Delaware budget is in crisis mode . . . I know that Gov. Markell is making some hard decisions . . . I know 8% is a big pay cut . . . I know many people that have been laid off from the private sector and are still looking for jobs . . . I know I’m happy I’m not the governor.

No solutions, no blogger diatribe, just confusion.

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A Dad, a husband and a data guru

Comments (58)

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  1. jason330 says:

    A couple of cheap shots at Mike Castle could punch up the diatribe-itude a bit…?

    Just a suggestion.

  2. jason330 says:

    I wonder if the anti-labor members of DEA are taking part

  3. h. says:

    No. Not all teachers are participating. At least not in my childs school.

  4. I’m not sure what the point is. Yes, teachers work hard and their job is not easy. I don’t think they get paid enough. How is this going to do anything? Are they threatening to do this everyday if the pay cut happens?

  5. nemski says:

    UI, the point, I think is to show that being a teacher is more than a bell to bell job. Regarding next year, I asked a couple of teachers and they didn’t know.

    I believe the only thing teachers are contractually obligated to attend outside hours are curriculum meetings and such.

    If DE teachers threatened a Bell to Bell School Year, I think they’d get everyone’s attention.

  6. anon says:

    If this is permitted in their contract, I don’t see the problem – kudos to the teachers for waking us up to the flaws in the contract.

    Obviously it is better for kids if teachers are available before and after the bell – so negotiate with the teachers for that clause.

  7. pandora says:

    I’m not going to get into the right or wrong, because I’m with Nemski – confused.

    What I will say is that this is a PR nightmare and whoever came up with such an ineffectual idea should be removed of their duties.

    Yes, this draws attention, but I don’t see where working from bell to bell attracts sympathy or support, which, imo, should be a protest’s main goal. Too many people are suffering for teachers to single themselves out – whether they deserve to,or not. Bell to bell is divisive rather than unifying – another protest no no.

    I think the pay cuts stink, and am open to other alternatives. Sadly, I predict that the bell to bell stunt will end up creating resentment rather than goodwill and the split will happen where it least deserves – between parent and teacher.

  8. anon says:

    It is a rule-book slowdown, which is a traditional union response to management tactics. Game on.

  9. nemski says:

    anon, you bring up a good point. I know, in past jobs when the boss had pissed me off to no end, I started coming in on time, a full lunch away from my desk, and leave at the sound of the buzzer.

    pandora, I do think that Bell to Bell Week might cause a schism between parent and teacher. OTH, most parents are already disenfranchised from their child’s education. So maybe the parents who are involved will also be the parents who understand.

  10. anon says:

    This is a union issue, and us liberals with kids in school need to do a gut-check on the depth of our union support.

    Teachers have been subjected to a speedup (increased class size), new performance requirements, and now a pay cut. In my view the state is taking advantage of a union that is not allowed to strike.

    If the same was done to union auto workers on an assembly line would you support them in a slowdown or strike?

    The answer is more money for teachers. No, not salary increases – just hiring more teachers at the same salaries. Conservatives and liberals can duke it out over where the money should come from, but we need more teachers to reduce class size.

    I think teachers would gladly do the before/after bell duty without any pay increase, if there were a promise of reduced class sizes.

  11. pandora says:

    Like I said, I’m just analyzing the tactic, not the reason. Just seems parents are the teachers’ best allies – it sure as hell isn’t the administration!

    I worry about alienating allies, allies who are also suffering in this economy. It just seems like it’s not the best way to get the maximum number of people to join your cause. You really don’t want people looking at what you’re doing and say, “Hey, what about me? I’ve lost my job, taken a pay cut, etc.”

  12. Geezer says:

    “It is a rule-book slowdown, which is a traditional union response to management tactics. Game on.”

    The problem all the state workers’ unions have is their terrible PR sense. They never should have mentioned increases in personal income taxes. Even those who agree with that don’t want to hear it out of the state workers’ mouths.

  13. anon says:

    When I heard of this I felt immediately sympathetic toward the teachers and not alienated at all. I am probably an outlier though.

    This is about shared sacrifice… if the teachers have to sacrfice 8% pay, it is a small sacrifice for me to take my kids to other community events after school, rather than depend on overworked underpaid teachers to organize them. Heck it is not a sacrifice at all – we get to spend more time with our kids and expand our social horizons.

    With an 8% pay cut, when the bell rings teachers should flee the school and go work a second job, or go to night school to get a better job, or just go home and clip coupons. And then they will need extra sleep, so no need to come in earlier than necessary.

  14. nemski says:

    Hey anon, you should change your pseudonym from anon to More Left Than DL. :-)

  15. anon says:

    Liberals who think labor should suck up a pay cut and still work unpaid overtime, should change their affiliation to – Reagan Democrat :-)

  16. nemski says:

    When the pay cut goes through, I think we will see a Bell to Bell School Year.

  17. pandora says:

    Again I don’t think labor should work unpaid.

    Anon, perhaps I’m missing something… what exactly is the expected outcome of bell to bell? Seriously, I’m not seeing what’s to be gained – not by doing this, but by announcing/advertising this as a protest?

    I have no problem if teachers work according to their contract, but the PR move must have been done to generate a result… mustn’t it?

  18. anon says:

    If the pay cut goes through, teachers should consider spending their after-bell time in night school preparing for a new career, so if the pay cut doesn’t expire when promised they will have options.

  19. anon says:

    “what exactly is the expected outcome of bell to bell?”

    I dunno, I’m not a teacher or union member, just a pro-labor guy.

    I immediately appreciated Bell To Bell as an awareness-building stunt and protest. It seems effective to me. I imagine it will cause some parents to call their legislators and ask them to work extra hard to cancel the pay cuts.

    Maybe it will even inspire the General Assembly to consider some of Kowalko’s proposals to eliminate the pay cut and get their school activities back.

  20. Kilroy says:

    “My boy is excited about all of this as his teacher is having the students participate in Bell to Bell Week — no homework!”

    Stop the presses! No homework? Are you for real?

  21. pandora says:

    Fix Red Clay posted on bell to bell yesterday. The comment section – from what I’d say are (somewhat) informed/involved parents – is quite interesting. Granted, not a scientific conclusion, but quite a display of the “Hey, what about what’s happened to my income” mindset.

  22. nemski says:

    Stop the presses! No homework? Are you for real?.

    Yup, but remember there are only 10 days left of school anyway. Homework was never going to be a big issue even if Bell to Bell Week didn’t happen.

  23. nemski says:

    Pandora, loved the “facts” that some of these commenters came up with. However, it proves your point that this might not have been the best road to the union to go down.

  24. pandora says:

    FRC has some of the nastiest (fact challenged) commenters – Poor Anne and Kim.

    But, yeah, it makes my “what about me” point quite well.

  25. RSmitty says:

    It’s intended to be a visual of 10% cut (pay + bennies) = 10% less work. I will tell you, though, as a teacher’s spouse that this amounts to less-than 10% less-work. It’s the most they had to work with. Additionally, and this is my best stab of an outsider’s view (I pretend for a moment to not have a teacher-wife), it’s also intended to upset non-teachers into supporting their stance. Naturally, those who see school as daycare will ultimately be angry at the teachers for being selfish, but others who try to take big-picture views will hopefully realize that teaching really is NOT a bell-to-bell job.

    Even more effective would have been to cancel ALL extracurricular activity in this period. No sports, dances, PROMS, etc. Nope. That would have been a bitch!

  26. nemski says:

    From the Brandywine School District website:

    Typically during a Bell to Bell Week, staff gathers outside their building and walks in together when their contractual day begins. They also walk out together when their contractual day ends. It is a way to show the solidarity among teachers and other school employees in opposition to the Governor’s devastating salary cut proposals.

  27. Kilroy says:

    nemski
    “Yup, but remember there are only 10 days left of school anyway.”

    True because this is the time it all winding down. However, to suggest no home as part of the protest is unjust and tells students education isn’t about the kids and it’s all about the adults.

    The battle belongs in legislative hall not the halls of the school building.

    pandora
    “Hey, what about what’s happened to my income” mindset.

    Absolutely! But it goes deeper because in order to not have the cuts they are suggesting raising taxes. I am currently bleeding 10% of my pay and nearly $9,000.00 out of pocket for healthcare a year. 10% hurts like hell! I don’t wish that on anyone but to ask me to bleed more so you don’t have to bleed at all sucks! Markell could have just told each department to cut their budgets and leave it up to them to terminate employees. The bottom-line is for me 90% of job is better than none and for teacher the 8% is on state share not local and also their pay goes up re: years of service. I don’t get increases overtime just for breathing. How do you tell public teachers and state workers that you love them but your not will to give up your home. So much for the brother and sisterhood of unions, as the members would rather see another lose their job instead of giving up 8%.

  28. pandora says:

    Kilroy makes my point about bell to bell being potentially divisive. And that’s all I’m saying. I’m all for paying teachers more, just questioning what I see as a PR blunder.

  29. RSmitty says:

    nemski, just to clarify what I said (and with the insight of info my spouse gets), the “10% less work” image is based on reality, not what the contract stipulates. In other words, the value of their work in reality is reduced against the value of the contract on a regular basis. Yes, there are specific things that gives them a chance for extra hours w’ pay, such as a planned event during off-school hours; however, that’s a small handful compared to the many things that cause teachers to stay one-to-two hours after on a daily basis: parent meetings, unplanned tutoring, make-up tests, class planning, etc.

    I can also guarantee you that in spite of the bell-to-bell, that none of these teachers are allowing their lesson plans to go unfinished. For the lot of them that don’t have in-school time to get it done, you won’t see in the paper that they are doing that at home. If they didn’t, they’d be sunk trying to lead a class.

  30. RSmitty says:

    I’m all for paying teachers more, just questioning what I see as a PR blunder.

    I don’t think anyone, D and R alike, is accusing the DSEA of being a stellar PR machine. There have been many Homer Simpson “D’OH!” moments on their pressers.

  31. Phantom says:

    Pandora,
    While it is a PR stunt the main benefit is to attract attention. The way that they say any attention in the press is good whether it is negative or positive. What boggles me is that we all agree (both conservative and liberal) that teachers should be paid better and that they have been paid crap up to this point (save for some fancy areas). If that happened in private industry who would go to work and there would be massive turnover. Hence why you don’t need a college degree to work at McDonalds. One of the benefits of being a teacher is the union and the relative job security. Just like being a police officer. While that translates into less pay than the private sector it also means that when you threaten to cut that pay that it is not viewed the same way as in the private sector b/c they know they have job security and accepted that benefit when they chose to teach. Now for those suffering in the private sector who are resentful it should be noted that you probably made more money doing more work in the private sector than a teacher but did not have the job security. Hence why there should be more unions if job security is the issue but that drives down wages. The teachers are doing the exact right thing to address the fact that thier employer (US and the GOVT) are mistreating them as employees. If I told someone who worked for me for a period of years that they deserved to be paid more but that I could not offer it and then after a number of years said I now need to cut your pay that person would leave as soon as they found another job. Teachers don’t have that entire flexibility. They are tied by union and state certifications and limited openings in particular areas. So they have to express thier issues in other ways. Unfortunately the next step is the nastiest and would involve the education of the children where they not only work Bell to Bell but then stop assigning projects and homework so that they have time to work another job or get different training. If this is how we treat our teachers then expect to see an exodus of new young teachers which will drive up wages etc.

  32. RSmitty says:

    If this is how we treat our teachers then expect to see an exodus of new young teachers which will drive up wages etc.

    My spouse has heard that quite a few with national or nearby-state certifications have either applied for, or already accepted teaching jobs in other states. As far as the young, out of college teachers, isn’t the trend of going out-of-state already pretty well established?

  33. Mike R. says:

    Lets be clear about what a “Bell to Bell” school year looks like, for teachers and for the rest of us.

    35.5 hours a week for a 40 week school year is 1420 hours a year (not including holidays off). If the majority of the full time working world went “bell to bell” that would be 40 hours a week for 50 weeks a year, or 2000 hours (not including holidays off).

    In the “bell to bell” world, teachers work 75% as much as the rest of us.

    The average Delaware teacher has about 14 years of experience, giving them an average pay (with master degree) of $66,500, not including the great benefits and amazing retirement system that most of the working world does not enjoy.

    A 10% cut of the STATE PORTION of their salary (roughly 70%) is about $4,655, giving an average salary of almost $62K plus benefits after the cut, working 75% as much as the rest of us.

    Working “Bell to Bell”, that is an average pay rate of $41.33 per hour for teachers.

    For the rest of us, that $62K works out to be about $31 per hour.

    Working 75% as long for an extra $10 an hour doesn’t sound so bad does it…

    (These are all averages taken from the DOE website, this wouldn’t look as good for younger teachers and not as bad for older teachers)

  34. Perry says:

    The “Bell to Bell” tactic is a poor one, because it reduces teaching effectiveness and, because it brings out negativism like we’ve just read from Mike R, who obviously does not have one clue about a teacher’s work day or work year, not one clue!!!

  35. anonone says:

    I love “Bell to Bell.” When citizens do social action demonstrations, it is a good thing.

    And you know what’s more?

    I like what it is teaching our kids.

  36. Perry says:

    And what is it teaching our kids, A1? Spell/spill it out!

  37. Mike R. says:

    Just to be clear, I AM A FORMER TEACHER. I know first hand what it takes to be in a classroom. Did you miss that I was making a comparison of Bell to Bell schedules? Maybe that was a bit much for you.

    Try again…

  38. nemski says:

    Mike R. shows a complete ignorance of what a teacher’s life is like.

    For example, the $250 tax credit hardly makes a dent in the amount of money teachers spend a year.

    Another example would be the weekend courses many teachers take as well.

    But, thanks Mike R. for showing us how facts can be misused.

  39. nemski says:

    And I call bullshit on Mike R on #37. If you were a teacher, and I doubt it, you probably sucked.

  40. RSmitty says:

    I love how FORMER TEACHER Mike R and others like him whip out that math equation. To me, the motivation of that makes me think they shuold be quoted an annual salary, but then be given only “75%” of it, making it their “effective annual” salary, for the 9 months of the year. All that said, I guess the teachers are then expected to go out and get a FT-level (and paying) job for those other three months to fill the gap and be able to survive at an AT-LEAST middle class lifestyle that teachers ABSOLUTELY deserve to exist for the work they do.

    Hey, so tell me just exactly where and what all these 3-m0nth FT jobs are so the teachers can line up and get them.

  41. Mike R. says:

    Right you obviously missed the point, I get that, but your argument against the numbers I put out there is what exactly?

    And I know all about the weekend courses, teachers ed programs, and masters programs. I know how amazingly easy and useless they were to me, but a great way to get a salary bump.

  42. RSmitty says:

    Um…Mike R….a lot of those “opportunity” courses are being cut.

  43. RSmitty says:

    in the meantime, we hemmorage teachers to other states, but oh, how so great they obviously have it here in Delaware, right?

  44. Mike R. says:

    Smitty, teachers aren’t given only 75% of their salary, they are given 100% for their 9 months, just like the rest of us are given our 100% for our 12 months.
    That means that if teachers get summer jobs, and many do, that is on top of their salary. Good for them but don’t pretend they aren’t getting paid.

    And good riddance to the “opportunity” courses. There is no tie between them and student achievement so why should anyone be “encouraged” to take them.

  45. Mike R. says:

    Delaware teachers don’t have it great compared to teachers in other states, I never made that argument.

    What I said is that if the whole world only put in their “bell to bell” time, teachers get paid pretty well.

  46. Perry says:

    OK Mike, you are a former teacher. My guess is that you were a lousy one, based on your perception of a teacher’s work schedule. Did you opt out of the profession, or were you kicked out? You definitely have a lot of anger along with your misconceptions.

  47. Perry says:

    And by the way, Mike, teachers aren’t “given” a salary, they earn it! Freudian slip?

  48. Von Cracker says:

    As a former educator, let me just say that 40 hours a week is bogus – unless you average in the summer months as well…

    7am to 4pm, then 7pm to 10pm preparing, grading, etc….

    Let’s not even get into the conferences, IEPs, after school activities, blah, blah….

  49. anonone says:

    Perry,

    It is teaching our kids about making a point by using collective social action.

    That is a good thing.

  50. Mark H says:

    And we’re teaching them that sometimes….Life just sucks :)

  51. cassandra m says:

    Actually, I think that we are teaching them that a certain level of effort really isn’t necessary. Interview younger people for entry level jobs now — they have limits to what they will do and lines that they expect you not to cross. Which is easy to understand — they watched their parents work their butts off for not much in return for their employers and they will be very clear up front that lots of extra uncompensated work should not be expected.

    As far as bell to bell is concerned — I’m for it. Any organization that factors in routine uncompensated work to operate to expectations was always operating at risk. Always — which is the thing parents should be upset over.

    It is too bad that the state’s budget is in such sorry shape. This action by the DSEA would be the perfect place to see if the contract could be renegotiated not just to rethink a better pay deal but also to institute some performance or merit pay framework.

  52. Bell to Bell will make a point but it will not make a difference in the pay cut scenario.

    Perhaps if some of the Boston Consulting Group’s action points ($160 million) pay cuts could be skipped.

    Still 1/3 rd of the budget is education so cuts will be essential although it would have been better to have DSEA enumerate options which would total the 8% instead of confrontation.

    Mike Protack

  53. Mike R. says:

    Perry,

    I left teaching on my own. I knew I wasn’t ready to be a great teacher and despite great grades from a highly rated education school, easily passing all the certification hurdles, getting glowing reviews on all my evaluations, and efforts from the school to convince me to stay, I left because I knew I wasn’t a great teacher, and that wasn’t right for the kids.

    My resentment comes from no one, and I mean no one, stepping up and telling me I wasn’t good at teaching and maybe I should look for another job. All I got were smiles and handshakes and pay raises I didn’t think I deserved.

    It was all about the teachers, and not about the kids. There were great teachers in my building, and there are great teachers all around this state, but there are also far too many that are just phoning it in, not making a difference for kids. No one does anything to those teachers because the union contracts protect them so well. I didn’t want to be one of those teachers.

    Say what you will about my motivations, but education should be about doing what is right for the kids, not what is right for the politically powerful teachers. I don’t care if you are liberal or conservative, if you side with the adults in the system over the needs of the kids you should be ashamed of yourself.

  54. pandora says:

    Mike R.,

    That couldn’t have been easy to write, so… thank you.

    As a parent, whose oldest is a HS freshman, I can attest that there are teachers I’d lay down my life for, and teachers who are a complete and total waste of space. My son’s 7th grade teacher and my daughter’s 6th were worth their weight in gold. That said, my son’s 2nd and 8th, and my daughter’s 3rd and 4th grade teachers were absolutely worthless idiots who had no business stepping foot into a classroom.

    Here’s the problem I face as a parent. I have only one shot to get my kid through 3rd grade. If my kid gets a bad teacher – and we all know who they are – they lose a year.

    Most teachers are devoted and excellent educators, but when they stink… they stink to high heaven.

  55. Joanne Christian says:

    Pandora, I think you are onto something w/ this Bell to Bell thing. I don’t know a parent yet who hasn’t thought the 8% on teachers was unfair, but this “letter of the law” movement has cheapened the public perception of their professionalism unfortunately. I was in education meetings (volunteer) in regards to quality, efficient programming for teachers in light of budget constraints, and improving the state of things. Upon seeing TNJ write-up, and returning to the office, questioning folks as they came through about any of this–I was surprised by the candid disappointment expressed on this move. The summation overall was, “you think you’re the only ones who are going to feel, what happens?–where’s my chance to walk out–cut back–retaliate (sic)”?More surprising were some teens I spoke with, who summed it up with “It’s mostly the lazy teachers anyway, who are doing this…not all of them, but most of them”. WHOA–that’s a PR problem right there–if you can’t get the buy-in from adolescents!! I don’t know, haven’t seen it–don’t know how big it is down here, but I will say this–all of us Delawareans have been asked to send cost-savings in from around the state. Has DSEA sent anything over besides a sales tax component? I’m just concerned that the complaint they make, may stifle any cure they offer at the table, at a time all of us become affected.

  56. RSmitty says:

    Mike R – going way back to #44, I know that teachers don’t only get 75%. Using your illustration, I responded in kind by putting up a scenario where they did get only 75% (a prorated part) of the contractual annual pay. The point was to counter what I thought you were getting at, which was I thought you were saying they should only get 75%. That’s why I went further and sarcastically said good luck to them being able to get a 3-month FT gig that pays at a worthy salary, to bring them back to a middle-class annual income.

  57. Middletown Taxpayer & says:

    Joanne Christian- Considering you’re the likely next president of the Appoquinimink School Board, I find your comments exceptionally troubling, but not wholly unsurprising. For someone who has sat on the School Board for years, who is a partner in a successful dental business, and whose children were/are remarkably bright students in high school, you are ridiculously under-informed.

    (1) How is “teen buy-in” a reliable measure of anything? The teenagers I’ve talked to, once they were explained the position of the Union and reasons behind the Bell-to-Bell initiative, were really understanding and supportive. So now, I’ve just countered your ridiculously unreliable argument with one of my own… maybe these two wrongs can put us on the correct path.

    (2) If you haven’t “seen it” and “don’t know how big of a deal it is down here”, then my guess of you being remarkably un-informed is no longer just a guess. As an Appo School Board member, you have the ability (and some would say ‘duty’) to contact the district’s union leaders or DSEA leadership and get the reasons for this directly from those who initiated it (instead of relying on teenagers and patients that pass thru your office.) Isn’t that what we are supposed to teach students? Don’t make guesses or assumptions on something and be done w/ it… Seek out the reasons and answers. One way is the surest sign of a closed mind and the other way is the first sign of an inquisitive, reasoned mind.

    (3) It’s also misinformed to say these 8% cuts will fall just to teachers. This 8% affects individuals who work in the prison system, probation/parole, state health system, etc. This is why the DSEA is partnered with so many of the other state unions in their legislative lobbying. To tag this to “lazy teachers” is irresponsible.

    (4) Since you seem uninterested in seeking out legitimate information for yourself, let me help you. Here are link(s) to the official DSEA position regarding B2B: http://www.dsea.org/PoliticalAction/SaveOurSchools.aspx#message

    I encourage you to read it. Furthermore, if you’d like to know more about the AEA’s or DSEA’s reasoning on B2B, contact the leadership for both.

    (5) If you had already done #4, you’d understand that the DSEA is offering suggestions beyond the sales tax component. These alternatives include: *establishing new, graduated income tax brackets for those earning above $150k/yr (why is the person making $65k paying nearly the same in taxes- percentage wise- as the one making $150k); * appropriate a PORTION of the State’s Rainy Day Fund (just a portion, certainly not a majority); * reinstituting the tax on inherited wealth over $4 million.

    I guess the last thing I’d like to say is that if you are in fact Joanne Christian, the Appo School Board Member, I am incredibly disappointed in the leadership skills you show. I expect my elected leaders to be more inquisitive and go to the source for information, not just ask a bunch of teens and customers and then spout off about something. Of course, this should not surprise me as our School Board has shown nothing but a egregiously myopic view of how to successfully lead/guide the district. The only way to change this would seem to be changing the school board and getting the “lifers” off and replaced w/ fresh faces & ideas. Czerwinski is gone, so perhaps this will continue next May.

  58. Joanne Christian says:

    Dear Middletown Taxpayer (of which I am one),

    WOW-You have chosen this venue to discuss policy at length, in contrast to anectedotal thoughts, and observations in regards to this action. And that’s great–but it is late.

    Again, I can only speak to Appoquinimink, and my experience. Your AEA leadership of past, and your current leadership now, have been remarkably communicative, collaborative, and collegial, on ANY issue, concern, or item in regards to our district business. Referendums, 2015, education fairs, committee work, all speak volumes to the lifting of the district that has been done.
    Recently, AEA sponsored a Town Hall meeting of which the board was invited. Without going into details here–that was an INCREDIBLE display of a unified, well-reasoned, executed delivery of solidarity, and message sent to our local legislators. Don’t know if you were there, but you would have been proud of the professional objection clearly outlined by members present.
    In contrast, events of Bell to Bell were never communicated to us as a board or community–unlike Town Hall. I sat in Dover meetings that AM w/ DSEA members and leadership, and not one word of any acknowledgement of what was going on around the state. My only “inkling”? A few NJ pictures. My next question…”hey are we doing this down here?”…..and there you have my brief take on the random, incidental, mentions of action here. Nothing more–nothing less.
    Your prepared response and attack sidesteps the movement locally. While the 8% is a raw wound for all concerned; and one I would NEVER support; again, why can’t the message OF SOLUTIONS be louder?
    I am well aware of DSEA’s contribution of fiscal problem-solving. Incontrovertibly, most of those solutions are couched in more taxes, and borrowing. While I will publicly agree with you here on some of them–I have also heard in public forum with legislators; putting themselves on record essentially; some of those solutions garner more harm, and ill than the intended benefit. Having heard that, my personal follow-up w/ legislators has been to continue w/ my list of budget busters, and to inquire if DSEA has amended, or revised any suggestions going forward. Nope–DSEA is sticking to the script.
    Contrast that to my “egregiously myopic” view of leadership–who has looked within my spheres of stewardship, and has gladly submitted buried cost savings thru scrutiny and identification. These are non-sacrificial, non-taxing, and doable. In fact they should have been done. I have been told, that individual teachers also have submitted great ideas of savings in identified areas that they too, are the bedrock of knowledge of allocation. These are the educators I know. These are the union members who can shoulder a wheel!! That is an Appoquinimink response, I could count on.
    Well Middletown Taxpayer–all of us taxpayers may just want to hear those painless ideas first, before launching into a full assault that protects your 8% (and again, I don’t argue your wrath or worry–and want you to keep it), and outlines the bevy of adjusted, increased, and added taxes–not for the rest of us, but the ALL of us. Sometimes the myopic view of personal budget managing at all levels can coalesce, to a more palatable solution in the end.
    Your closing paragraph of veiled threat, and malicious undertones, with benefit of anonymity is lost on me. Whether you are truly a Middletown taxpayer, an employee, or some troll (is that the right word Pandora?), you have chosen to go adversely in comment. So while you are fiercely protecting (and I am truly sorry you have to), your 8%, I will continue volunteering my time to protect it also, based on the ASD employees I know who are rightly deserving of this and more–do you mind? I just want SOLUTIONS to be the louder message, of personal audit first, communication to appropriate stakeholders/decision makers, and knowledge based revision. This district is acutely aware of this, and has adjusted accordingly. Because we all know the state is broke.
    Again, your comment revisits the divisiveness both Pandora, and I acknowledged. Remember, most community members are not as informed as yourself–which mirrored the narrow examples I mentioned above. Next time, maybe some solution exposure, and preliminary awareness—and I’ll ring the bell for you. You have allies in your board (if you are truly Appo.), what a shame we weren’t included.
    And shame on you if you are a “troll”, because AEA is highly regarded at all levels of decision making around here.