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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Negotiations: Greeley Colorado District 6 Teachers Get Thrown Under the Bus

Greeley Colorado District 6 school teachers got a parochial school lesson last evening from the District School Board when the Board basically decided on a package deal for the teachers. Teachers are howling and the Union is threatening action. It remains to be seen what can or can't be done. While it would be reasonable during an economic downturn to curtail cost of living increases it is a hard pill to swallow when federal stimulus funds are coming into the district and a recovery is well underway except in job creation. Top that off with the fact that the Consumer Price Index shows that what $1.00 bought in 2007 now costs $1.04 or a $50,000 salary in 2007 is worth 2,080.27 less than it was in 2007.

Of course the District is facing the same problem. It is going to have to spend $1.04 for every $1.00 spent previously and with property values sinking, the Tabor Act limiting tax increases not yet through the court system, and 3A swinging in the wind, I'd be sweating bullets too if I were on that School Board. Except that I suspect the State automatically adjusts the payments to the local schools for increases and, as I said previously, the state and local schools are eligible for stimulus funding. I've posted a couple of paragraphs on the federal money below taken from the Colorado Department of Education website. There are a few opportunities too, if I am reading the language on this page correctly, that District 6 should be applying for that could help with building attractive pay packages for high quality teachers and administrators in the future. Hope someone is on that and making it happen.

Overview

Congress designed the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund to prevent reductions in critical education and other services.

The Recovery Act allocates the following:

  1. A one-time appropriation of $53.6 billion for the overall State Fiscal Stabilization Fund
  2. $39.7 billion in Education State Grants for states to use first in restoring state support of primary, secondary, and higher education through 2011 to the greater of 2008 or 2009 levels, and $8.8 billion in Government Services Grants to support any public safety or other government services, including education
  3. At least $4.35 billion to fund Race to the Top State Grants, which includes $350 million in Standards and Assessments Grants
  4. Up to $650 million in competitive grants to LEAs or nonprofit organizations under the Investing in Innovation Fund

Funding

Colorado is expected to receive $760,242,539 in Recovery Act funding for its State Fiscal Stabilization Fund state allocation, which includes $621.9 million for its Education State Grant and $138.3 million for its Government Services Grant.

I'll write more on the negotiation topic when I get more information. I haven't posted too much on the topic as it is because to be honest it is difficult to tell facts from fiction and media hype. I've been in the middle of mediation before and it is not a whole lot of fun to have the media perpetuating panic points. For example, a mild one, I heard last week that the Board were secretly putting new contracts in front of some select teachers and telling them they should sign them and that the new contracts would allow the teachers to be fired at will once signed.

I sent that worried teacher back to dig for more details because it just sounded more than a little implausible that those details were correct. Every one is worried about the state of education in Greeley District 6. That much is obviously the truth.

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