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Mansfield Educators Take Action To Settle Contract

While continuing to deliver essential services to students, members of the Mansfield Educators Association voted to stop engaging in volunteer activities to demonstrate their frustration over working without a contract, which has now gone unsettled for nearly 150 days.  This is the second consecutive time teachers have been left working for a long stretch without a contract, which damages the town’s ability to attract and retain the best educators, according to MEA president Scott Cohen.

“Educators have been bargaining in good faith, sensitive to the community’s needs and constraints,” Cohen said. “We have even been publicly praised by the school administration for our abilities to do more with less, yet that praise rings hollow when the school committee fails to settle a contract with us.”

Teachers are at the point where this inability to reach a fair and equitable agreement can only be seen as disrespectful of the work educators do throughout the district, Cohen said.

“Because the school committee and its negotiators cannot see fit to move forward, then we too must take a stand as educators and will be working to the exact terms of the previously negotiated contract, he said. “Every teacher will fulfill his and her obligations to the students in Mansfield. But we will not engage in the myriad volunteer activities teachers undertake throughout the year.”

Cohen pointed out that teachers will still deliver vital services to students such as writing college recommendation letters, but educators will not be arriving to school early or staying late.

 “Teachers now are working harder than ever,” Cohen said. “There are many new state initiatives we must meet in addition to the day-to-day needs of our students and goals we set for ourselves.

 “We have shown our willingness and dedication to settle an agreement that best serves students, teachers, and the community as a whole,” Cohen said. “I’m asking not just parents with children in the public schools, but all Mansfield residents to urge the school committee to resolve this issue.”

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, CONTACT MANSFIELD EDUCATORS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT SCOTT COHEN, (Scottmeaprez@gmail.com, 508-269-7924)                 

BH January 28, 2014 at 06:47 PM
Sustainable wage Jill?!? Your counterpart makes $91,000 per year!!! Spend enough time as a UNION teacher and you're protected and set for life. Give me a break.
Brian Delano January 29, 2014 at 07:18 AM
Sad thing is that 2 students who look up to these teachers were told they cannot be their teacher at teachers night at a packed ice rink in foxboro tonight.... Almost like a slap in the face to the student..... But it's all about the kids.... Not anymore. Most teachers are very valuable and should get raises but unions this size are a thing that worked great in the 40's & 50's when people took pride in what they did before they thought about how they are protected and their union rights. I work just as hard as you all do and get paid based on my performance and goals and now with all the testing, etc to measure that the math program is the best in the state it is easy to be rated on performance. I will tell those students tonight at the game that there are still teachers out there who do put their students first unlike the 2 teachers that these students used to look up to. I have an aunt who was down and dirty in the Brockton school system for 40 years and took a lot of union abuse for crossing the lines but did it "back then" for the sake of the kids.
RuKiddingMe January 29, 2014 at 07:43 AM
My elementary kid came home and told me that the teachers would not play in the Wizard game either. That is a fund raiser for MESA that gives right back to the teachers and classrooms. Bite the hand that feeds you.
Pam Gagnon January 30, 2014 at 08:41 AM
I find that the poor me, I have to work without a contract discussions border on insanity. In this community teachers are paid very well and their benefit package, which is outstanding, is probably worth another 20K / year. Mr. Cohen says "we don't do this for the money" yet the rank and file have decided to stop all uncompensated activities. How then can this decision mot be driven by fianacial gains? Speaking of financial gains it is my understanding the only monies the teachers are not receiving are those associated with their COLA's. All other incentives i.e., step and lane changes, education costs etc remain intact. If you all want a contract, sign one but kindly stop raping and pillaging the wallets of those paying your salaries.
BH January 30, 2014 at 09:18 AM
But Pam, the kids....
Jill Hamlet January 30, 2014 at 04:19 PM
Does anyone honestly believe that when you stop paying good teachers (which you obviously have) according to their education and experience that taxes will go down and property value will remain high? That will happen when the tolls for the Tobin are sinking in the Charles River. You live in a state about to pay for a convicted murderer to get a sex change and you're upset that teachers make a living wage? No, most don't make $90,000 but keep beating that straw man with a stick.
BH January 30, 2014 at 05:06 PM
Town and state tax are two different things. And nobody is saying teachers shouldn't be paid, we are saying that when you make $90k as a public school teacher, you should keep your mouth shut when it comes to demanding a contract. Don't try to act like its all about the kids at that point, the other 99% isn't that naive.
BH January 30, 2014 at 05:52 PM
And how have we stopped paying teachers? Do you mean we have not given them a guaranteed contract and raises based on nothing other than a union flexing their muscle as opposed to a merit based system? If teachers were so passionate about kids over anything else, they would agree that performance based pay would be the most beneficial way to seek out and retain good teachers. $475 per day as a teacher....
HJ January 30, 2014 at 06:50 PM
Teachers aren't passionate about their kids. It's about the money BH. Must be nice to whine for more money (to add to their "sustainable $90k) while their neighbors are picking up the tab for their gravy train.
BH January 30, 2014 at 06:57 PM
Some make more than $90k. The Pre 2nd grade principal earns over $100k. Tell me how that salary is justified.
Jill Hamlet January 30, 2014 at 07:34 PM
Education, skills, and experience justify it. Keep beating that drum that teachers make $90K per year but be sure to check how many are under $60,000. Contrary to your assertion, "bad teachers" are fired routinely. Unions merely represent a group of professionals trying to get fair treatment. Of course they are being paid - the contention is that the school committee refuses to even consider negotiations. Teachers are part of your 99% who are paying taxes, supporting local business, and making your town an extremely desirable place to live. If anyone truly believes you don't have passionate and effective teachers in Mansfield, then I'd say you don't know Mansfield at all. Unfortunately, working to contract is the only way to have an impact. Maybe it is the only wary people will realize that teachers don't have summers off - they do a year's worth of work in 10 months.
BH January 30, 2014 at 08:17 PM
Yeah, you're right Jill, the 268 Mansfield school employees who make over $60k a year and the 67 who make over $90k per year don't justify any of the above arguments. You wonder why people in this town lash out when teachers complain about a contract? Look at the numbers I just listed, and leaf through the town reports, which most of us have. Assistant principals making over $100k, secondary heads of departments making $90, librarians making $80k+. If you held our school salary budget up against 95% of the other communities in Mass, it would be shocking, and not a difference that justifies our very good school system, but to a point of greed and waste. Also, how are our taxes supporting local business? They pay their own way and profit from our patronage. We are FORCED to pay for the out of control school budget, again apples and oranges.
Jill Hamlet January 30, 2014 at 08:37 PM
Wrong again. Per pupil expenditure in Mansfield is not exorbitant nor are your teachers paid higher than 95% of the state. Again, most principals are required to have or be pursuing doctorate degrees by our fine state at a great cost to the individual. You can't require that of someone then pay them $70K. It just doesn't work. If you've ever lived with a principal, you'd reconsider that as well - +12 hour days are very regular.I'm someone who grew up blue collar with parents who worked hard all their lives. I consider public service workers the bones of the community who are scapegoated for everything. If you have someone in your household doing such jobs, you might see it differently. There aren't a lot of folks doing it who aren't dedicated and passionate. Also, regarding an earlier point, the state does indeed fund cities and towns, thus your schools.
HJ January 30, 2014 at 09:48 PM
Sorry, teachers are overpaid. 2012 report: $89,120 for Kindergarten teacher, $93,166 for music teacher, $82,423 another music teacher, $95,093 orchestra, $87,693 music, $94,589 Grade 1 teacher......$77k & $92.5k Phys Ed and that's only a selection through letter H.......WASTEFUL AND OVERPAID.
HJ January 30, 2014 at 09:56 PM
Why bother spending all the money for a doctorate to become a Principal when you can earn $108,539.08 as a Social Studies teacher or $110,386.94 as a music teacher and work 9 mo a year? There must be $1m in music salary alone. Total insanity and yet they want more.
BH January 30, 2014 at 10:10 PM
You can't argue with the numbers Jill. A music teacher or librarian should not be topping $100k, they just shouldn't. If teaching was fully "for the love of it" or for "public service" or "for the kids", then you would agree that $90k, $100k, $110k was not necessary and a guaranteed contract is even more ridiculous. The argument tends to contradict itself, it's public service BUUUUUT we want a contract and more money.
HJ January 30, 2014 at 10:44 PM
Yes, a first grade teacher shouldn't be making $91,896.04 and crying because there's no contract and no huge raise. Imagine if I did that in the real world, I'd be told I'm free to leave for another job. These teachers have no concept of reality when it relates to financial matters. It's for the kid$. I went through the list.. some Art salaries......76k, 79k, 92k, 73k, 62k, 50k, 74k, 60k, 80k.....I wonder why my taxes go up every year.
BH January 30, 2014 at 10:51 PM
And the notion that every teacher is incredibly good and talented. There are many great teachers I'm sure, there are also some who have no business being teachers, yet they are protected and tenured and highly compensated. That's the root of the problem. HJ is right, if I demanded a raise tomorrow or I'd stop some of my duties, I'd be free to sleep in the next morning. Jill we aren't attacking individuals, but the system setup as a whole, it rewards all, when all are not performing.
T Collins January 31, 2014 at 08:40 AM
Football coach/ Social Studies teacher making $103,000?
Tina Mqs January 31, 2014 at 08:59 AM
You can see the other Patch article aboue MA experimenting with "virtual" classtime on snow days. We could see this coming for a long time now. Gates and his philanthropic buddies have been setting the schools up for virtual learning and pretty soon we won't need all these teachers. we'll be spending money on computers instead. and they don't need a contract. real-life teachers will always be needed somewhere, for sure. but the rank-and-file student will get skyped.
T Collins January 31, 2014 at 09:24 AM
Virtual teaching. Virtual recess with your virtual friends. Virtual sports. What will be the dress code? This virtual idea may work for specific exceptions, but school will always be there.
BH January 31, 2014 at 09:44 AM
Know why social studies or "history" teachers shouldn't make $100k? CAUSE HISTORY DOESN'T CHANGE! This course can be taught the exact same year after year and anyone who played football knows this is the go to teaching position, after gym teacher, for sports coaches. I would LOVE to hear some justification for this salary.
Tina Mqs January 31, 2014 at 11:32 AM
Don't be silly BH, history changes in some kinds of countries! We're not so far off now! ... TCollins, school will always be there, of course. but think about it. it's expensive. the kids need socialization and direction. but online schools are a thing now, and i'm not even referring to universities. the "normal" kids who can work more independently will be made to do so, because it'll be cheaper.
Tina Mqs January 31, 2014 at 11:35 AM
Anyways BH, in all seriousness, math and language arts don't change. 2+2=4 whether in Chicago math or new math or whatever way they want to reinvent the wheel for the purpose of making a buck, and a noun is a noun. History doesn't change, but maps and politics and science do. Remember that Pluto's not a planet anymore? lol...ORDER BRAND NEW TEXTBOOKS FROM PEARSON PLEASE!!!!!!!!!
BH January 31, 2014 at 12:04 PM
Not sure what your point is here Tina. So there are subtle changes, does that justify $100k? That's what the discussion is here. I went to a very highly rated school system in Mass and out of the 25-30 teachers I had, I'd say 10-15 of them were worth their salary. The rest read from a book.
Tina Mqs January 31, 2014 at 12:33 PM
No, it doesn't justify. I was just pointing out that subjects like social studies and science do change. But that's what internet is good for. Doesn't cost anything to watch the news and keep current. No need to print new textbooks every time a country sneezes.
HJ January 31, 2014 at 12:45 PM
From wickedlocal Mansfield yesterday.."Warriner later said teachers deserved a fair contract and school officials should be working with them to do what’s best for the students".............I suppose $90,173.10 is not enough for Warriner to teach 5th grade. These teachers are overpaid.
HJ January 31, 2014 at 12:51 PM
From same article....."The first public evidence of the work action was the no-show of Tami Battell’s Jordan-Jackson fourth-graders. The students were to appear before the committee in the "Spotlight on Students" agenda item".........I guess that $92,326.04 salary Ms. Battell earns isn't sustainable for a 4th grade teacher.
BH January 31, 2014 at 01:00 PM
So this $45 million dollar budget they are seeking doesn't account for any of the teachers salaries. The 68 making over $90k per year accounts for $6 million themselves and the 268 making over $60k account for AT LEAST $16 million and most likely closer to $20 million. BUT THE KIDS!! I wish these teachers would just be honest for once and admit that they care just as much about their salaries and benefits than they do about "the kids".
BH January 31, 2014 at 01:02 PM
Great points HJ, literally punishing students because of their own greed.

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