A Letter to the Board from Two Concerned Parents
February 22, 2013 3 Comments
Dear Dixon School District Board Member,
Having just attended the board meeting this evening, we wanted to write to you to add our voices to those urging the board to reach an equitable settlement with the membership of the DEA as soon as possible. We have read the final positions posted by the board and the association as both sides prepared for mediation. We are familiar with the way in which such negotiations work, with one side making an offer (often in better terms than they hope for) and the other a counter (usually worse than they want) so that there is room for maneuver and compromise. But as we read the board’s final offer, it seemed that the board had rejected almost everything that the association had requested, not just made a counter offer, but rejected it out of hand, and in some cases made a counter that was markedly worse than current practice or contract, even when there seemed to be no dollar cost one way or the other.
It was hard to listen tonight to the discussion of buying land, replacing defective windows at Reagan, and the underperforming air conditioning there, when our students’ teachers are looking at increased numbers of students, and less help, and our students are looking at less and less opportunity being offered to them. We still bitterly regret the loss of the K-4 art program.
Being told not to let the amount of money that they earn define them as people, was patronizing and insulting. Of course most teachers do not work only for the money, but every one of them has a home, vehicles, and families of their own to support, and so do indeed work for money. Many of them have invested thousands of dollars in their own educations in order to become better professionals, and to be told that in tough times they should not let themselves be defined by dollars or percentages, seems to be willfully naive.
As parents of two students in the district, we feel compelled to support the teachers and the association in their efforts to seek an equitable settlement and their ability to work under a contract that treats them as highly qualified professionals who all work beyond any expectations that the contract requires in order to provide our children with the education they need.
We hope that you will seek to focus on the most important asset that a school district has, not the land it owns, or might own, not the $100 million notional replacement cost for its buildings, but the people who deliver the only service a school has any business delivering, educating kids.
Antony and Denise Deter