We won the budget vote last month, but nothing has been solved. You need to know what happened last week.
There is a new school budget vote coming up on June 21st. Please vote, and please vote “no.” I will explain, but first, if you need an absentee ballot, you can get one here. Also, if you know anyone who wants to be added to my distribution list, please let me know.
The new proposal is up 1.32%, so it’s under the cap. We won our victory last month, so we can all ignore this for another year, right?
The problem is the district hasn’t fixed anything, and it’s going to get much, much worse. The Board of Ed and the teachers union (BTA) have solved NOTHING. We will have this same fight next year, and the year after. Personally, I’d rather spend my time doing something else.
Some concerned citizens, some with kids in the system, some without, took the time to do a deep dive on BCSD’s numbers. A bunch of us, mostly those of us who were “no” voters like me, looked at the analysis, and together we came up with a proposal that would have put BCSD on a sound financial track for years to come. In a nutshell, we proposed that the BOE put forth the exact same budget we beat last month – up about 4%. This time, we would push for a “yes” vote, and we’d get it to pass.
In return, we wanted assurances that the new BTA contract would simply keep compensation growth under the tax cap of 2%. Teachers would still get raises higher than inflation, but not 4% every year.
We felt this was an equitable distribution of the pain, and one that fixed our problems for good. Plus, we could put an end to these neighbor-vs-neighbor fights every 12 months.
Not only was our proposal denied, they actually tried to suppress it. When Mike Solomon, who was sadly voted off the board, tried to raise the proposal at the BOE meeting, two pro-union board members, Jen Gerkin and Ed Reder, actually try to shut him down. You have to see it to believe it. You can watch it here, at exactly 1 hour, 4 minutes, and 22 seconds. (After that, jump to 2 hours, 1 minute, and 33 seconds to watch Joe Damore’s excellent comments about how it’s okay to love your teachers but loathe the union.)
We just voted Jen Gerkin out, and we must do the same to Reder next year. No more union apologists on the BOE.
So, we made a good faith effort and were shut down. What does it take for the BTA to make concessions, or for the BOE to put pressure on them?
No votes. We keep voting “no” on every budget – even the do-overs – until the BTA comes to the table and alters their cost curve to something sustainable for the community. We are left with few other means to express ourselves. Will we win them all? Probably not. But even close shaves affect future behavior.
Just so you know, a “no” result on the 21st would result in a 0.0% increase for next year. Most households in our district have been living with the same or smaller budgets for some time. Why can’t the BTA?
As a reminder, compensation takes up an astounding 80% of the school budget. In my next email, I will share with you why. In the meantime, please put June 21st on your calendars. Vote no.