SEA submits 'Fair and Fiscally Responsible' compromise plan

The Springfield Education Association August 9 formally presented Gov. Mitt Romney's Finance Control Board with a "compromise bargaining position that is fair and fiscally responsible," according to SEA President Timothy Collins.

The SEA proposal: 

  • Puts teachers at their proper step and degree levels for Sept. 1, 2005. 
  • Matches the FCB's $36,000 starting salary proposal with one set at $35,628. 
  • Costs approximately the same as the FCB proposal -- $11.4 million. 
  • Willingly forgoes approximately $915,000 worth of interest should Judge Constance Sweeney rule in favor of the SEA on the wage-freeze case. 
  • Submits all unresolved issues to arbitration.

Collins stated: "The SEA's one-year proposal recognizes our city's fiscal plight but, unlike the control board's proposal, also recognizes -- and addresses -- the plight of our schools and the 27,000 children they serve.

"The control board's proposal adds instability to an already unstable situation and will all but ensure a continuing exodus of excellent, experienced educators -- many of whom, under the FCB's plan, would be making less than new hires," he continued.

He said the control board's intention to unilaterally impose its proposals is "not only illegal, but also a complete subversion of good-faith collective bargaining."

"It is a clear message that the FCB has no regard for the teachers who have gone for more than three years without raises while consistently showing their dedication to children, and, indeed, keeping the city's school system afloat," Collins said. "The SEA plan, on the other hand, provides a road map for a smooth opening of the schools in our community while establishing a framework for resolution of the issues that remain.

"The SEA's intent is to provide a stable environment and a quality education for the children of Springfield. We are offering the Finance Control Board a fair solution, and we earnestly hope they will accept our proposal as a step toward bringing this crisis to a conclusion.

"Now," Collins concluded, "is the time for Mayor Ryan to sign and send to the Legislature the home-rule petition for binding arbitration."