Today’s Lowell Sun has a very good story by Jen Myers about the compensation given to Lowell High School advisors for Clubs and activities (Band newspapers – National Honor Society etc). Much like the Sun’s previous article about LHS Sports coaches being the highest paid around. We know that these people are compensated very well and the Lowell School Committee is responsible for that.
The thing that strikes me in the article isn’t the salaries, it’s the quotes from School Committee members (UPDATED) John Leahy & Jackie Doherty and from Union President Paul Georges.
John Leahy: “Why should you get a raise on your stipend?” “It should be a flat rate.
Jackie Doherty: ” in many respects, the committee’s hands are tied because they cannot reduce any salaries or stipends without negotiating such changes with the union. We can’t touch the stipends until we reach a deal with the union,” she said. “Without union cooperation, we cannot adjust those stipends and we are not going to be able to do that before September.”
They get the raise John because the last time the School Committee negotiated a contract with the Union you gave it to them! Jackie you voted on the last contract and tied your own hands, you can’t touch them now because you (the entire former School Committee) gave them that ability.It’s great to complain about it now and hindsight is 20/20 but you have only yourselves to blame.
For a change I agree with Committee member Alison Laraba , who said “that one of the reasons the committee is in this predicament is that the “small-potatoes” budget items — like stipends — were not addressed in the past.” “We should be looking at the small potatoes,” she said. “Nothing happens until we are in a desperate situation, just like the food-service issue, which should have been addressed earlier, but it took a crisis to bring it to the forefront and finally do something.”
Times have changed and so must the School Committee in the way they negotiate. Everything is on the table and they need to sit face to face with Paul Georges and get rid of their hired negotiator. Hire a lawyer to make sure you stay in the rules but hold a hard-line for a change. You set the tone and the demands and make them give in or eliminate sports and clubs and go to the paper, the radio, City Life and Lowell Blogs and tell everyone it is the Union that refused to give in. Don’t let Georges threat of work stoppage or bad press deter you. Hold the line!
This is why this contract which has dragged on in negotiations since Georges stopped teaching needs to continue to drag on and demand these concessions and demand change and don’t give in. (YOU GAVE HIM THAT ABILITY ALSO, HOW DID THAT WORK OUT FOR YOU?)
Based on current and forecasted revenue’s stop giving away 15 sick days that don’t exist in the private sector. I propose we start 1-5 year teachers with 5 sick days a year – 6-10 year teachers with 7 days a year and 11+ years a cap at 12 days and cap sick day carryover’s at 90 days MAX for everyone starting now. If people have over 90 days they lose them just like in the real world. Teacher’s got these perks in lieu of pay years ago. Pay is now much better but the perks haven’t changed. It is time to make changes now.
It is time to drop stipends for advisors to half of what they now make and bring them in line with other schools, do not give them raises based on the teacher’s contract or seniority, make it a flat rate. Paul Georges and the teachers union need a reality check that they have not received in the last 10 years.
Message to Mr. Georges, times have changed and there is no money so your comments like:
Georges: “That is just the way it has always gone,”
“Decades ago the increases in coaches’ salaries and stipends were lumped in with the teacher raises.”
“the stipends are “not a major part of the budget.”
Don’t have anything to do with the current financial situation. Times they are a changing and it’s time that YOU and your Union realize that. If I had my way you would be saying over and over
“when the committee puts out a demand to slash their salaries, at that point it does not become a discussion.”
Your right, I’m not discussing these things any longer. The School Committee let you stop teaching in April to get this contract done and work on concessions and you have been unwilling to compromise or admit that the landscape has changed. Now it’s time that the School Committee on behalf of the PARENTS/ TAXPAYERS of Lowell take control and set the bar at what we can afford. If your really about the kids then prove it.
So as you state today : “We will have to see what happens at the bargaining table,”
Yes we the Taxpayers / voters will be watching this School Committee closely and you and your union closely to see what happens at the table. We have had enough and the private can no longer afford the public sector, especially a greedy selfish city union.