Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ring a Ling Ling - Back To Class

The Onteora School District and the teachers association have reached an agreement on a new contract. The parties negotiated in a marathon session and finally came to a mutual understanding.

It is interesting to note that the impasse that plagued the negotiations was aided by an attorney who was hired to "help" the district negotiate. Sometimes an attorney or a consultant thinks that their job is to stonewall the negotiations in order to "earn" their money. This is quite common. In reality, their job should be to ensure that a fair negotiation is held according to the law and to advise their client so THEY don't break the law.

A lesson for school districts in this case and other parties who negotiate is that sometimes the people involved can actually can do a better job negotiating without the hired guns. Regular people involved in the everyday processes of the business or school district know their situations best and have the uncanny ability to resolve them so no one loses.

The teachers have been working without a contract since July 2008. The union had reached the point of breaking the stalemate with a strike.

"We're all glad to resolve this before it got really divisive for our community," said school board President Laurie Osmond.

Congratulations to the teachers and the district.

Now someone explain the logic behind the "double pay" for the people who would have "filled in" during the strike. After that explain how that issue was decided on in an instant. What budget did that raise come out of?

That part still bothers me.

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