Niagara Gazette

Opinion

April 11, 2013

GUEST VIEW: School funding issues can't be fixed locally

Niagara Gazette — I find the the guest editorials from the Saratogian which ran in the Gazette on April 3 to be poorly informed.

I realize this was on the opinion page, where any opinion can be printed, but I would think that a responsible publication would not want to propagate false information. Here are my personal opinions too. They do not necessarily represent to total Lew-Port Board of Education, but they are factual!

First: There are over 700 individual school districts, thus there are over 700 teacher contracts. I must point out there is this “thing” called the Triborough Amendment to the Taylor Law. It states (in effect) that an old contract stays in existence until the new one is ratified, thus normally a union will not ratify any contract that gives them less than what they already have. Each school district has their own contract; they must be looked upon individually. At the present time, I can only comment of the Lewiston-Porter Teacher Contract. Understanding current economic conditions, the Lew-Port teachers, in a very responsible action did agree to several changes, such as pay adjustments, and the agreement to pay part of their health insurance costs. They did not have to — but they did. They should be praised and not grouped with others that may not have been as conscientious.

Second: Teacher pensions; yes I get one, but the idea that it is under local control is false. Local school boards are mandated by the state to do what we must do. The state Legislature has made adjustments to the plan — we are now in step 6, but these changes will come slowly. I have heard individuals say ‘if you declared bankruptcy like some companies have, you could drop their pensions.’ This is against state law, this is not a private company. You must look to the state for this relief, and change the state constitution.

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