SEA President condemns Finance Control Board action

Springfield Education Association President Timothy Collins has condemned a plan by the Finance Control Board to unilaterally impose a salary settlement on the city's teachers, calling it "the latest in a series of proposals to damage the education provided to the children of Springfield."

"This illegal plan is not only a bad deal for teachers -- it is a bad deal for the children in the Springfield Public Schools," Collins said of the control board's action. "The Finance Control Board has worsened the crisis in Springfield and is now using it as an excuse to ride roughshod over the rights of the very teachers who have kept the system afloat."

In a news conference August 8, the control board announced it will adopt an interim salary schedule for new teachers under which some new teachers will be paid at a higher rate than some veteran teachers. In addition, under this plan, new and veteran teachers in hard-to-fill disciplines will be paid at a higher rate. The SEA has rejected these proposals in bargaining.

"The board's actions, in giving raises to some teachers but not others, will accelerate the crisis that has already caused almost 300 teachers to leave," Collins said.

Springfield teachers are now about to enter their fourth year without a raise. Negotiations have been going on for the past several months.

Collins noted that the SEA bargaining team has proposed a plan to resolve the current situation that would treat teachers fairly while providing stability and quality for students. That proposal would put the issues before an arbitrator, with the expectation of prompt action.

"We are formally putting forward, in good faith, a one-year proposal that would give all teachers a raise while sending unresolved issues to an impartial third party," Collins said. "We are also prepared to send this one-year proposal itself to arbitration. This solution would address the problems we face without further endangering the education we provide to the students who make up the future of our community."

Collins said the full proposal would be faxed to the control board at the opening of business on Tuesday. He added that the SEA's one-year proposal would cost $11.4 million, the same amount as the finance control board's plan.