What will happen with the Unions?

With Dr. Sicoli inking his recent three-year contract, one question still remains: What will the employees get in upcoming contract negotiations? In District 281, 70-80 percent of the expenses are related to employees which covers salaries, wages, heath benefits, pensions etc. The bottom line is that people are our largest expense. The largest source of revenue for the district comes from the state of Minnesota, and it seems pretty clear that we aren’t getting any more from them in the next two-year cycle.

So that begs one question; what kind of a deal will the employees get? The governor has suggested freezing salaries as opposed to laying people off. That sounds reasonable, but District 281 has a slight problem: they gave Dr. Sicoli a 2 percent increase in his salary. How can the district give the superintendent a raise and give the teachers unions nothing? Chances are the unions are expecting a raise no matter what the economic situation. 281 Exposed knows that we have closed three schools, passed a referendum, and sold the Lincoln school property — but the reality is that we spend the most money on people, not buildings. So do the math and ask yourself this: How can our largest expense continue to increase while our largest source of revenue stays flat (or adjusting to inflation) decreases?

It is a trend that can’t continue. We can expect the district to be going right back to the taxpayers of this area, claiming they are once again broke (as they have in three of the past seven years). Everyone else will be to blame, except the district itself.

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5 Responses to “What will happen with the Unions?”

  1. give2attain Says:

    Now I agree things are going to get hard, but even you must admit RAS should plan for some state increases. The fault of the coming pain lies clearly at the feet of the state… (ie now are the employees going to accept 0%?)

  2. 281 Exposed Says:

    The state and the Feds have to take some blame but in reality considering the economic situation, we have to disagree that RAS “should plan for some state increases.” It is completely and totally absurd to expect that will a huge deficit (which again is the state’s fault) RAS should get everything they had last year and MORE! Ever since the November forecast for the state budget came out, it has been pretty clear that their would be no extra dollars coming in. The House and Senate DFL plans would have been far worse if they had passed. They contained cuts in both years of the unpcoming two-year budget. Of cousre we are spending $10,308 per student in this state so it’s hard to believe that is insufficent but as usual no matter what is spent its never enough. If the teachers get a 2 % raise this year, (same as the new sup gets in his contract) there will be another referendum within 2-3 years. The spending is simply not sustainable but it’s hard to see the teachers accepting nothing.

  3. give2attain Says:

    Interesting, do you think the district should add and cancel student programs as the economy heats up and cools down? Doesn’t do too much for stability of long term results.

    My opinion is funding should grow steadily with costs, and priority 1 – 3 programs should be maintained in downturns as an investment in our community’s future. Or the teacher’s need to accept 0%, like many citizens.

    Though there are some priority 4 programs that could probably be shed without damaging the kid’s academic excellence.

  4. theobald7 Says:

    “How can our largest expense continue to increase while our largest source of revenue stays flat (or adjusting to inflation) decreases?”

    Quite easily, I suppose. Expenses don’t rise and fall with ability to pay. Heating costs, for example, are not based on anyone’s take home pay.

  5. theobald7 Says:

    “It is completely and totally absurd to expect that will a huge deficit (which again is the state’s fault) RAS should get everything they had last year and MORE!”

    We should expect and demand that the state keep it’s promises, however absurd that may seem. We must hold the state accountable.

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