Editor Davy James firstname.lastname@example.org
3:34 pm on Saturday, March 19, 2011
7out said nothing about teachers having low salaries, he/she simply pointed out that teacher salaries aren't "high on the hog," as you so clumsily put it.
You can bring up state government and private companies all you'd like, but your argument amounts to this: "some people are being treated unfairly, therefore teachers must be treated unfairly too." In other words, you're being childish.
3:28 pm on Saturday, March 19, 2011
Teachers and administrators do have separate unions. You are correct that "we" need to pick up the pieces together and not yell at the ones who did it. But in reading your comments, you seem to be of the opinion that SBEA members are the "ones who did it." And while you aren't yelling, you are proposing knee-jerk solutions that involve ignoring state collective bargaining laws and going back on signed legal contracts. These are not honorable ways of doing government business. Since you say you agree that state and local politicians have put our community in this unenviable position, why are you taking shots at Mr. Hines and SBEA?
3:15 pm on Saturday, March 19, 2011
08824 is only one ZIP of several that send to South Brunswick schools, and one of the less well-off as I understand it. I am posting as a community member and nothing more; please don't presume to say it's "my" pension. You have no idea who I am or if I even have a pension.
I am familiar with NJ report cards: student-teacher ratio is not the same as class size. Keep in mind that about 4 in 10 teachers in this country are traditional "classroom teachers." The rest are specialists, many of whom teach students in small groups or even individually depending on their legally-determined special needs. This is why it is important to discriminate between student-teacher ratio and class size.
12:57 pm on Saturday, March 19, 2011
Median teacher salary in this town is about half of the median family income of $113k. High on the hog indeed!
12:47 pm on Saturday, March 19, 2011
The bargaining process is simple: one side represents the interests of the employees (educators), and the other represents the interests of the owners (township). Our elected representatives cut that deal with SBEA one year ago amidst an even more dire budget crisis than this year's. If this agreement infringes on the well-being and welfare of "others" (assuming you mean SB residents), then blame our politicians, not teachers.
12:38 pm on Saturday, March 19, 2011
Get your facts straight. No one must contribute to a 401(k), they are optional programs for workers and are potentially more lucrative than traditional pensions. It is your choice whether or not to contribute funds to your own 401(k) account.
You bring up the "private sector" a lot. The private sector is not monolithic: there are many who are making out very well in the private sector. There are others who are struggling. Likewise, there are many who are making out very well in the public sector. There are others who are struggling. Comparing one to the other, though, is like comparing apples to oranges.
12:33 pm on Saturday, March 19, 2011
Businesses large and small secure loans (essentially the same thing as bonds) all the time to ensure adequate cash flow or to expand.
Governments and schools are not charities. If people want to give to them, fine. But Americans have names for people who expect others to give them money whenever times are tight: moochers. Do not mooch off of our childrens' teachers. We must respect their private decisions with their own earned money.
12:26 pm on Saturday, March 19, 2011
I sympathize with your recent financial losses, I know from experience that such matters are not easy to deal with. It is important to remember that collective bargaining is a right guaranteed to municipal education professionals by New Jersey law. SBEA did not write that law, your elected representatives in the Assembly and Senate did. As such, your criticism of Mr. Hines is unfair. Target Trenton, not teachers.
I am sure you would agree, Jennifer, that "a deal is a deal." How would you feel if a contractor remodeled your kitchen and added $2,000 to the bill without your permission? Likewise, how would a teacher feel if they were legally guaranteed a 3.5% raise one year ago by the elected representatives of the township, only to be coerced into forfeiting that promised income?
10:43 pm on Friday, March 18, 2011
This is not a one-sided argument, however. SBEA has more to consider than its members' salaries and benefits: as Mr. Hines pointed out, our township's teachers are taking on more and larger classes. How many more cuts will they endure until the job is taken to the point of exhaustion? Furthermore, how will staffing cuts affect SBEA membership in the long run? Our community has already lost scores of talented, young, non-tenured teachers to cuts. In a way, SBEA is making itself a victim of its own success: through the usually beneficial act of negotiating favorable contracts for its members, the SBEA has inadvertently become top-heavy. This trend will continue as long as educational cuts remain the norm (in other words, for the forseeable future). South Brunswick has traditionally been a home for energetic, cutting-edge, youthful-minded educators and administrators: does SBEA really want their workplace to become sclerotic or old-fashioned? I humbly submit that by agreeing to keep their salaries status quo, SBEA may have done their members a disservice in the long run.
Nevertheless, SBEA has committed no infraction on the public. Their team of educators is second to none in not only New Jersey, but the entire country. If times were more flush, they would certainly merit more than their relatively small raise this year, from administrators to custodians, teachers, paraprofessionals, and secretaries.
10:28 pm on Friday, March 18, 2011
In addition to my regular day job, I also am a musician. I agree to gigs in advance with an understanding of my pay and responsibilities. For example, I will be playing with a band at a wedding this month for $400 cash. If I showed up, played the gig and then was asked to accept less money for the good of the band, I'd definitely have to think about it... wouldn't everyone? If I give back guaranteed money, what's going to stop my manager from doing the same thing next gig? How will that affect my finances in a time when every cent counts for my family and me?
Whether or not they agree with SBEA's decision, the taxpayers in South Brunswick must appreciate the fact that educators' salaries were guaranteed by a contract signed by their elected representatives one year ago. If voters do not approve of this contract, then they should send new leadership to the town council and BOE. In the meantime, I ask my fellow SB residents: please do not pollute the community by pretending that teachers' money should be donated back to the township as a matter of ethics or 'shared sacrifice.' Such sentiments are manifestly un-American.
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Editor Davy James,
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