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Ed Board Rejects Superintendent’s Call for Budget Restoration

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The Westport Board of Education tonight by a 5-2 vote rejected a recommendation by Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon (r) that it seek restoration of the $1.4 million cut by the Board of Finance from its proposed 2009-10 budget of $96 million. (LaFleur and Taylor opposed.) Chairman Don O’Day (c), citing a $3 million cost of already negotiated wage increases, for the first time said he would seek to make up some of the cut through union wage concessions. But Ed Huydic, head of the teachers union, said he was “unequivocally opposed” to renegotiating its contract. The union official did reiterate, however, what he said was a “creative cost-saving” offer for a retirement incentive plan which he said the board had previously rejected. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

8 thoughts on “Ed Board Rejects Superintendent’s Call for Budget Restoration

  1. Mr. Hyudic needs to get with the program and realize that wage freezes are a reality in this economic climate. It seems that he is as disconnected as Dr. Landon when it comes to working to share the pain we all are feeling financially.

  2. If teachers (and other public employees) agree to a wage freeze when times are bad, is the Town going to guarantee a bonus or other make up when times are good?

  3. The only guarantees are death and taxes…right now I think everyone should focus on the sacrifices needed to meet the BOF’s requirements. Some how I think the school system will survive with little impact to the welfare and education of the students.

  4. The shoe was on the other foot during the last severe recession when Westport Taxpayers tore up a contract to increase the wages of Westport’s teachers.

    In 1978, the teacher’s union negotiated for and signed a 5 year contract.  That contract called for raises of 4% and 5% in 1981 and 1982.  By 1981, inflation was running at or above 10%. So the
    union petitioned the Town to reopen the contract pointing out that teacher contracts in Darien, New Canaan and Norwalk then being inked called for raises in the range of 7 to 9%. It was also noted that other Westport unions (that hadn’t locked in a 5 year deal) were getting larger raises from new contracts then the teachers.

    After an almost year long battle, the various Town Boards, including the RTM, rewrote the contract. 
    As I recall, the teachers got a bonus in 1981 and a 9% raise for 1982 instead of the 5% contract raise.

    A number of taxpayers were “unequivocally oppossed” to reopening a fairly bargained labor contract in 1981—-think of the senior citizens on fixed incomes also suffering with 10% inflation or those who had lost their jobs.  However, most taxpayers and their elected representatives were in favor of revising that 1978 contract to fit the crisis at hand in 1981.

    Mr. O’Day and the Ed Board are right to petition for concessions from the teacher’s union, not to punish teachers,but to revise the current contract to reflect the realities that everyone else in the private and public sectors faces during an economic crisis much worse than 1981. And, if the union and the teachers have any memory they ought to take a fresh look at how this crisis is affecting taxpayers instead of using it as leverage to secure an early retirement package for those teachers with the most seniority and therefore the highest pay. 

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if those teachers with 27 years or more of service who benefited from the taxpayers’ compassion back at the start of their careers were also able to use this downturn as a way to secure an early retirement bonus on their way out?

  5. Bob, thanks for the history lesson. It’s not that we forgot; most of us weren’t in Westport when it happened. I hope the Westport Teachers Association members learn from it, too.

  6. I understand why folks are asking the union members for concessions, but is the same being asked of non-union workers?  In particular, has Dr. Landon and his staff offered to freeze or roll-back their salaries and perks?  If they have, why is this not reported?  Certainly, if they have taken cuts it shows their willingness to share the financial pain with the unions and should be reported with details.

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