Published On: Wed, Sep 27th, 2017

VIDEO: New Hope-Solebury Teachers Voice Frustration Over Contract at School Board Meeting

New Hope-Solebury’s School Board meeting Wednesday night looked like a sea of blue, as dozens of teachers wearing navy-colored NHS Education Association t-shirts came out to show support for their lead negotiator in belated contract talks.

“Members of the New Hope-Solebury Education Association are disappointed and frustrated that our last three contracts expired before being able to agree on terms for new contracts, therefore placing us in the status quo,” said Chief Negotiator Yona Rose, representing the 127-member New Hope-Solebury Education Association.

“Members are unsure how to save, plan for their family and home while they continue to come to New Hope-Solebury,” he added.

The school board is reluctant to offer raises after a large pension contribution, and in light of rising healthcare costs, according to those familiar with the issue.

Mel Band, who serves on the school board’s athletics/student activities committee, suggested that lower-paid teachers be recruited from Philadelphia and Trenton to replace what he perceives as the jaded faculty of New Hope-Solebury. He also demanded that current bargaining positions of teachers and administration be made public.

Superintendent Steven M. Yanni said that details of contract negotiations would not be provided, as would be required if talks reached an impasse.

 

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  1. mband2008@comcast.net' Melvin Band says:

    As to J Farrell’s inquiry as to teacher’s salaries, the top salary i9n New hope Solebury is $113,000 for a full time teacher. I believe that this comes after 14 years and taking, I beleve, 60 credits pat your bachelor’s degree.
    One thing I know for sure is the fact that the district pays 50% of the cost of courses teacher’s take.Teacher’s straight out of college who need to get a master’s degree( 30 credits) at $1000 a credit wil have the tax payers pay $15,000.

  2. mband2008@comcast.net' Melvin Band says:

    Regarding Sandy’s inquiry as to the cost of resurfacing the main parking lot, I recall that the main lot was resurfaced several years ago at a cost of $40,000. I also know for a fact that there are districts in New York City where teachers pay ( I don’t recall the amount)for a parking spot to defray the costs of resurfacing the school yard.

  3. jasjfarrell@cs.com' J Farrell says:

    Just what salaries and benefits do the teachers currently receive? What more do they want? I’m sure they are working under their last contract if a new one hasn’t been negotiated.

  4. elicash9876@gmail.com' Robert says:

    I moved here from New Jersey over 20 years ago. My total taxes in this district today are less than HALF of what I paid two decades ago (and I lived in a smaller house on a smaller piece of property then). Pennsylvania’s taxes are nothing compared to much of the Northeast, and though taxes are higher in this district than some others they’re still nowhere near many others just a stone’s throw away.

    I’m proud that our district offers so many opportunities and – yes – it costs more per capita. There are plenty of places to live with huge school districts, less programs, and underpaid teachers. I’m glad NHS isn’t one of them. One of the things that this town has become known for is it’s small, well-regarded school district and that is what has brought increasing wealth to the area and attracted families.

    Times are changing around here, slowly, but surely. There were a lot of things I liked about “back in my day”, but it’s not “my day” anymore – if there’s any doubt just look downtown. In 2017 it’s going to be increasingly impossible to have the folksy, artsy little shops – competing with the internet is impossible, which is why you see more and more “luxury” things going in next to the restaurants. Upscale bars, salons, gyms, boutique hotels, and all the rest of it are going to keep replacing businesses that are no longer sustainable, and with it the demographics are going to continue to change. There’s always been the multi-million dollar estates around here, but the “middle” the town attracts will be wealthier as well (compared to when I came here).

    While I don’t love paying taxes any more than anyone else, with all the district offers and the demographic shift that will continue no matter how hard I pound my fists on the table, I can’t complain – we pay more than middle-of-nowhere central PA, but we pay a pittance compared to most districts just over the river to our east and straight up the coast for hundreds of miles.

  5. mband2008@comcast.net' Melvin Band says:

    What Robert and others of like mind, especially the teacher’s union, do not seem to understand or do not want to understand is the fact that that while the district is considered a wealthy district, the vast majority of the people in the district are senior citizens are not wealthy;they are on a fixed income.
    And wealthy or not, when school taxes are NOT getting you bang for your buck, but getting your bucks banged, everyone comes out a loser.
    And one final point. By law all taxpayers whether they have children or not, are required to pay taxes for a Public School education for the children in their community NOT for a private school education which in a number of respects NHS is private espoecially in the area of class size which is smaller than at least half the private schools in Mongomery and Bucks County.
    In addition, the taxpayers give over $600,000 a year in taxes for Extra Curricular Activities. I emphasize Extra. One bizarre activity is having a voice coach for some students. What is this, Julliard?

    • thasluprus@thraml.com' Sandra says:

      $600,000 for Extra Curricular Activities and those groups still try to get money from me on a weekend to use the school parking lot? That is my taxpayer-funded parking lot, isn’t it? Great life lesson for these kids . . . just sit there and collect money. What ever happened to car washes?

      • Sandy, the kids are always told that if some old crank like you or Mel makes a stink they do not have to pay. But just so you know…the school lots are not there to provide you with free parking. The lots are there for school business. It may also shock you to know that you’re also not entitled to use the school library, practice your pitching wedge on the lacrosse field, or work out in the high school weight room.

        • thasluprus@thraml.com' Sandra says:

          So, according to your logic, unless you attend school there, are on the staff, are a parent there on school-related business, etc. the parking lot should be off limits. We both know that is not the case. It is used on weekends for parking and various school clubs sit out there and use it as an opportunity to raise funds. Is this school business? The new trolley from the Playhouse picks people up in that parking lot. How about we go with this logic: The wear and tear on those lots should be restricted to school-related use only. How frequently does the lot have to be resurfaced? How much does it cost? If it was shut down after school hours AND all summer long, would the surface last longer, cost less money? I can be as ridiculous as you, Nancy.

  6. elicash9876@gmail.com' Robert says:

    We should be working towards improving conditions at inner city schools like Philadelphia and New York, not using the dismal standards there as some kind leverage against teachers in more fortunate areas.

    I have three children that are NHS alumni and all three went on to great colleges and are thriving today – I can’t support the race to the bottom Mr. Band seems to be advocating.

    I trust that his intentions may be good, but I’d rather see Harrisburg and D.C. do more to help cities afflicted by poverty than see wealthy districts like ours cynically use their misfortune as a tool to threaten our district.

    Lift others up, don’t drag us down. I hope today’s NHS students can expect the same quality my children benefitted from.

  7. mband2008@comcast.net' Melvin Band says:

    As far as Sandra’s comments about working in the heat and looking for parking. The fact is-been there, done that in the bowels of the New York City public school system for 40 years 1964-2003. The fact is a number of senior teachers that I have known who worked in New York City, but lived in the suburbs of Long Island, gave up their senior pay status in favor of starting at the base salary in the suburbs, because of the horrid working conditions which I have alluded to present in NYC. In fact, the United Federation of Teachers, the NYC teacher’s union will tell you flat out it’s the working conditions much more so than the salaries which makes it difficult to retain their teachers.
    I bet if NHS advertised in the UFT paper- The New York teacher, you would get a lot of hits from teachers who live in Staten Island50 miles away.
    Now as far as compensation for responding to parents through texts, emails almost 24/7,are New Hope Solebury teachers the only ones who are doing this? All teachers, if they do their jobs are Always in contact with the parents. The difference is the city teachers have 30% More parents than those in the suburbs, 30% More kids to deal with and 30% More papers to grade.
    I would like to know that since negotiations have begun, how many times did both sides meet and how long were those meetings. Surely this is information that can be made public.

  8. mband20008@comcast.net' Melvin Band says:

    Just to be clear, I stated that when there are openings for teachers, the district consider hiring Tenured teachers from areas such as Philly and Trenton. These would be teachers who are survivors teachers who go to Hell and back every day, teachers who survive because of their ingenuity and creativity,teachers who have to use chalk on a blackboard and don’t have the luxury of laptops that they can use 24/7/365 as is the case for the teachers here in New Hope Solebury who got $924 labtop computers who didn’t even pay for the insurance for their up keep, teachers who survive the hot, humid days of May, June and Sept. without airconditioned rooms and don’t have the luxury of free on campus parking as do the NHS teachers who think that these items are their birth right. And furthermore, unlike our NHS high school teachers, many of whom have class size sections in the low 20’s, teachers in the inner cities have classes in the 30’s and still make $15,000 less than NHS teachers.Teachers who have special education students(and there are plenty)don’t have the luxury as is the case in NHS, of getting their students referred, tested, evaluated abd serviced in a timely manner.
    And when Yana Rose, the chief negotiator for the NHS teachers said that the moral of his teahers is being affected by the lack of a new contract, he said it all. The old contract was up on June 30, 2017. Here it is a lousy 3 months later and moral is being affected? I wonder how they would feel if they had to wait nearly five years as the teachers in Philly had to wait for a new contract.
    The bottom line is if the NHS teachers, three quarters who don’t live in the district think that they are not being treated fairly, go elsewhere, but bring plenty of water in the dog days for the year and allow extra time for finding a parking spot.

    • thasluprus@thraml.com' Sandra says:

      Agree with you on some things, Melvin, but not most. Just because some teachers have to work in horrid conditions, does not mean that should be the standard. I worked in both environments and I appreciated the conditions in my last school district. It was one of the top three in PA. Do you work without air-conditioning? Ever try to teach hot kids? Almost impossible! Do you have to arrive 30 minutes early to find a place to park? If you have to work at home, do you provide your own tools to do that? If you are expected to be responding to texts/emails almost 24/7, shouldn’t a district compensate you for that? The job isn’t easy and if you’ve never done it, you are clueless.
      On another note, this ranking is unacceptable and they have some explaining to do!
      Solebury ranked 33? That’s just great. https://patch.com/pennsylvania/warminster/new-ranking-pennsylvanias-best-school-districts-released

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