Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:00
The MPSA, persons who do not identify themselves, have issued e-mails recently regarding next year’s school budget. I think it’s good to have serious debate and we need smart, serious people to be involved. The MPSA leadership should come out from behind the curtain and stand up for what they believe; it’s what leaders do. I assume they feel they will be attacked. I believe Manhasset residents respect those who stand up and get involved. They respect differences of opinion when they are well thought out and based on educated study of difficult topics. Manhasset likes people who get in the game; not those who throw rocks from the sidelines. I encourage the MPSA leadership to stand up, list their names on the website and foster an open discussion on the issues. Meet with the Superintendent and school board. If you disagree, state why and how things can work better. New ideas are needed; not rocks launched from behind the curtain.
The MPSA’s recent email asserts that the school “Board will continue favoring the union contract.” I’m not even sure what that means. I hope the MPSA knows the school cannot openly violate the terms of the contract. The same contract, ironically, that the MPSA applauded in May 2012. The Board must comply with all legal contracts whether they like them or not. MPSA also suggests the school should “scale back or eliminate the teachers' retiree healthcare package.” I think MPSA should come forward and talk about how this will work. How will the school board get around the state requirements regarding union benefits? How many teachers will move to a neighboring district offering benefits, how will we attract great teachers without providing such benefits? If you have the answers to these and other questions, step forward so everyone can evaluate this proposal. However, you cannot assume we can simply terminate teacher benefits without numerous obstacles. It is no different than companies simply eliminating 401k plans and medical benefits; it’s not done for numerous reasons that require more than an e-mail campaign.
The Board has a fiduciary responsibility to comply with New York State Law in all matters. The Board and the community share the responsibility to provide for the education of the community’s students. Step out from behind the curtain and get in the game!