LETTER: NEA Contract Is Overreaching

Tiverton resident Justin Katz, a candidate for school committee, writes a letter to the editor.


Anybody who's able to catch video from the Aug. 14 Tiverton School Committee meeting should do so. It provides an excellent lesson on why all levels of government are facing financial crises. Whether it's the need for new tolls, catastrophic debt, or underfunded pension plans, wishful and unclear thinking about money is at the root.

On Tuesday, the committee approved an agreement with the teachers' union, extending their contract until 2015. It didn't have to be approved before the upcoming election, and it didn't have to cover three years.

The lesson came when member Danielle Coulter suggested that the committee should clarify how much money the agreement would obligate the town to pay. What followed was an extended word game, led by member Deborah Pallasch. They were offering a "financial impact statement," she said; what Mrs. Coulter wanted was a "budget statement."

Well, whatever you want to call it, the statement does not show the true cost.

A press release by Supt. William Rearick (that has since disappeared from the district's Web site) asserted that "the cost … will average approximately $250,000 annually." That number is so low as to be simply false.

According to the "impact statement," the first year would cost $0, the second, $375,136, and the third, $384,025. Rearick added that up and divided by three.

The first problem is that the greatest increase shown is a 1.75% raise to be given in years two and three to teachers with at least ten years on the job (about four out of five teachers). In reality, that compounds. When you give somebody a raise, it doesn't go away. When you give another raise the next year, it's added on top of the first.

The second problem is that the statement didn't include step raises that many teachers will get every year, averaging more than 6%. The nineteen teachers moving from step 9 to step 10 will get a base salary around 15% higher that year. That one step alone will cost the town around $175,000 not shown in the statement.

With step raises, the financial impact of this agreement will be around $600,000 per year. And that still doesn't account for health and dental benefits.

The committee claims that more than half of this increase doesn't count because they "didn't negotiate" those items. But that was their choice. Choosing not to negotiate an increase is the same as giving it away.


Justin Katz

Tiverton Resident

Justin Katz is a candidate for the Tiverton School Committee.

Joe Sousa. August 31, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Because of State Mandated Binding Arbitration we probably got a better deal by agreeing to the contract. We took a beating every time we went to arbitration. Just another reason I get made at our legislature. We have a bare bone force both police and fire. . If the schools would hold down the number of teachers we could afford a lot more for the students and the teachers. Just saying.
Just Another Taxpayer August 31, 2012 at 12:50 AM
My point regarding the firefighters contract being approved without any comment from Mr. Katz shows his bias against public school teachers and public schools in general. Firefighters, police officers, and teachers all play a vital role in making a town a true community. Considering the fact that both our policemen and firefighters are some of the lowest in the state, I believe the raises were reasonable in today's economy. Just like the raises for the teachers were reasonable.
Jim L August 31, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Big manny! that line you got in said trains, and the question you ask just proves that it'a very clear that you are just obscessed with anything i say and will stoop to any level, including harming other folks that makes you so easy to ignore, you just can't get your little mind around the fact that the issue is not the tolls, or evadeing them, it's all about the economic effects of them on Newport county as a whole No i've never been in the fire fighters union, but i've been in others and any hard working person knows that union protect the slackers as well as the good workers, guess you fall on the slacker side side huh? So just inply i'm drunk. and toss that letter around, post it everyday because its full of facts, but you will always be someone who digs a hole under another man to make himself feel taller, never works, but you are still amusing in your silly things
Just Another Taxpayer August 31, 2012 at 12:53 AM
I noticed that Mr. Katz still has not answered Mrs. Crist's question regarding his employment history.
Jim L August 31, 2012 at 12:57 AM
So now we compare cops and firefighters to teachers, j not even close, how about we compare teachers to DOT workers to?
Jim L August 31, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Okay Ms Crist can i have your employment history to see if you should be asking questions online, Are you a nea member? do you belong to a union. have you ever taken an oath to serve and protect this country, where shall we end this with no named shills, and will my questions be answered?
Jim L August 31, 2012 at 01:07 AM
WHILE WERE AT IT i LOVED THE tIVERTON FIRST/ CURB Mrs Aruudda posted about all TCC members ging to sht villes with the big rock sign got a nice copy of it very classy and very helpful to helping that group heal the divide in this town would she be related to the gentleman of the same name running in town?
Tea Party Shill August 31, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Come on, Fake JimL! Let Real Jim answer the question on his own. Shouldn't you be busy scripting the next council meeting?
Tea Party Shill August 31, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Come on Sonny, you hide behind JimL's logon name and then have the gall to call others "no named"? Time to grow some.
Jim L August 31, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Line big manny , coward is what you are, but YOu again crossed the line, Good by Curb TDTC stooge
Jim L August 31, 2012 at 01:47 AM
No what i got is your threat and patch will be giving your name and ID to the police and thank s to the rest of you that feed him on'Tiveton 1st curb? tranpracy, right And you Mr Medierios i also find at fault , so you can toss that letter around all you want, this just proves the truth of it! so throw it up again
Naome Lixes August 31, 2012 at 11:12 AM
"If the schools would hold down the number of teachers we could afford a lot more for the students and the teachers. Just saying..." Beg pardon? If they work for less, we can hire more of them? If the idea is to improve student performance, is McDonald's really the best model?
Naome Lixes August 31, 2012 at 11:36 AM
He's not likely to answer, either. That's an evasive politician, in training right there. Note that the simplest questions, where there's no wiggle room, are treated as superfluous, when they're essential.
Naome Lixes August 31, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Is Ms. Crist running for office?
Renee Cwiek August 31, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Have you joined the group on facebook Jim?
Justin Katz August 31, 2012 at 02:39 PM
As I said: 1) I have absolutely no interest in a career in politics; I'm a policy guy. 2) I will gladly answer the question. But there's a clear motive to that particular question and an established hostility to me in the person asking it, and I've simply asked what preconceptions are behind it. I don't know that I've ever heard any candidate (especially for a local office) asked if he or she has ever been fired. If one never tries anything, one never fails. Is that a desirable quality in leaders? As a teenager, I was fired from a record store because I made a performance of ringing up customers, rather than following the customer relations handbook. Is that of interest?
Gloria Crist August 31, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Justin- my question speaks more to your intent and your ability to speak and collaborate with fellow educators especially as it concerns policy-and what is best for the students/staff in our schools. It speaks more to your real motivation behind your desire to run for school committee. Does it matter if you got fired from a record store as it applies here? No- does it matter if you were fired from a recent teaching position as it applies here? You bet. I also take great concern with certain people running for town council and school committee who have been arrested for behavior that does not reflect highly on a group representing a educational system and a town. Nothing personal-just factual. In the state of RI every person working with children on any kind of level has to have a current background check-with no infractions or arrests-for obvious reasons. I think the same thing should be asked of those running for office. Look at Dan Gordon. I could care less if you were fired- I just think it speaks to what your agenda might be-and I-along with fellow taxpayers-might not question it so much had you been forth coming.
Jim L August 31, 2012 at 07:13 PM
BIG MOMMYyou think it's just cute tossto my wifes name out at the end of your post, being an unamed coward that you are why don'y you take of your housecoat, grow a pair and try standing by your conviction, you and your no names T1 and curb buddys are like little bullies, bet you feel brave making comments like that, just go on hiding big mommy let me know if you grow up enough to act like a man your juat an unanamed punk I dod hope that all the folks reading this see just what lowlifes you are and just what Brain Mederios has created with all his name calling and discriptive terms, SO any of you enuchs care to itimadate me by subtle threats here i stand you BIG MOMMY you disgust me your are dismissed, patch has your little message and so do the police, unlike you I am not hard to find
Just Another Taxpayer August 31, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Where is the Real Jim L?
Jimmy August 31, 2012 at 10:27 PM
I saw what he's talking about Manny. I've had just about enough of you. Lay off a bit there bud.
Jimmy August 31, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Every comment that you have written has been directed at Jim L. Get a life Manny. Why are you so obsessed?
Jimmy August 31, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Yes I am his son Manny. Thought that was kind of obvious. Did you figure that out all by yourself?
Jimmy August 31, 2012 at 11:35 PM
I'm not gonna argue with you Manny. I'm just telling you to lay off the insults. You can disagree with people without being such a rude prick, or at least intelligent people can
Ryanthegirl August 31, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Wow!! All of these childish, off topic, negative comments will continue to drive our current (and potential future) residents away from the real issues. We, as a town should be looking for new ideas regardless of what side of the isle you agree with. The conversation needs to be about the needs, wants and expected standards of our students, teachers and parents. The idea that my children are nothing more than a number or dollar amount makes them nothing more than government, union, town propaganda. That is unacceptable. I think the lack of competition and the idea that continued complacency is okay has driven our schools standards, expectations and worth into the ground. As I posted above I have several learning disabilities, if as a child, I was given an option I would have asked to go to a charter school. The waiting list that all charter schools in our area have is proof alone that parents are looking for alternatives to the same old politics and money before our kids..
Ryanthegirl August 31, 2012 at 11:57 PM
A charter school is funded in this state as follows; each district gets 5 percent for each student sent, each charter gets the total of the state share for each pupil enrolled, provisions are made for mid-year corrections if shifts bigger than 10 percent occur. They are free to negotiate additional support with sending districts (this is the state operational funding steam). No extra provisions are made for special needs. Obviously the last is the most important to me. If I were given the opportunity to be in a school that was not forced to follow blanket government standards, tests and given a label (for me it was sped), I am sure that my childhood education would have been far different, for the better. Charter schools have no extra provisions for special needs because they have much smaller class sizes, teacher who will not get grief from a union business manager, steward or pier for not following a contract but doing what is needed to help that child succeed. How can we ask a teacher to learn every student’s way of learning with class sizes currently so large? We have several teachers’ here in town that would prefer to not be a member but as far as I know, they don’t have that choice. Would a right to work state force teacher’s to be in a union and pay dues?
Just Another Taxpayer September 01, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Jim L your most recent post is somewhat disturbing. The angry tone of your email is extremely disconcerting. Maybe you should take some time off from posting? Getting this angry can't be good for your health.
Renee Cwiek September 01, 2012 at 12:24 AM
This whole thread has gotten out of control.
KSilvia September 01, 2012 at 12:28 AM
School Spirit September 01, 2012 at 12:50 AM
J.k.'s wife is a teacher.
Naome Lixes September 01, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Fair enough, that's a reasonable request. Get him to at least check his submissions prior to posting, won't you? It's not as if coherence (or even remaining topical) are strong suits, there. That, and there's so much of it...


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