Friday, February 19, 2016

Salaries and Sensibilities in Pottstown Schools

Spiffy Panoramic photo by Evan Brandt
Dozens of green-shirted members of the Federation of Pottstown Teachers stand in solidarity as their spokesperson, Franklin Elementary School teacher Lindi Vollmuth, makes her comments to the Pottstown School Board Thursday night.

Goodness there was a lot of the public's money flying around Thursday night in discussions at the Pottstown School Board.

According to preliminary calculations put together by the Federation of Pottstown Teachers, the range of raises proposed in an "administrative re-structuring" included raises ranging from 54.88 percent to 5.42 percent.

All together, it added up to $90,922, according to calculations from a group of people who last year accepted a one-year contract with no cost of living of living increase, no hourly increase and no percentage increase in the steps, but received a 1 percent bonus.

So its probably not surprising that in what was no doubt a pre-arranged show of
Federation of Pottstown Teachers members stand
for Lindi Vollmuth's comments about negotiations.
solidarity, when Franklin Elementary teacher Lindi Vollmuth came to the podium to deliver the "federation remarks," there were suddenly dozens of green-shirt-wearing teachers standing.

Vollmuth said that not only is is demoralizing for teachers to be told there is no money for raises for them while administrators enjoy them, that more than half the teachers have indicated they have considered leaving Pottstown Schools to look for work elsewhere.

By what can only be an unintended coincidence, this plan was floated to the general public exactly four days before the Monday board meeting that the public has been invited to specifically suggest ways the budget could be cut.

Really, I swear I'm not making that up.

(Although there appeared to be some confusion on the part of some board members who were bemoaning the absence of the public at a meeting to which they were not specifically invited.)

The administrative re-structuring, which would install Human Resources Director Stephen Rodriguez into a new "assistant to the superintendent" post among other changes, received what Board Vice President Andrew Kefer called a "heated but civil" discussion among the board.

It began when board member Thomas Hylton read a statement saying he would make a motion Monday to table a vote on the re-structuring plan.

He said given that the district will very shortly be bringing in a new superintendent,  it would be appropriate to give that new leader some input into the new structure.

And in what can only described as the rhetorical highlight of the evening, after board member Ron Williams recalled that in his Navy days, a new commander would always "re-arrange the furniture," Business Manager Linda Adams described herself as "one of those pieces of furniture."

This came after a truly bizarre statement in which Adams said she could envision the new superintendent doing "something unethical" which might require the board to "buy out my contract."

Solicitor Stephen Kalis soothed the frazzled hyperbole when he clarified Hylton's desire as delay, not rejection; and Board President Kim Stillwell raised a salient point when she asked if anyone had asked the person hunting for a new superintendent how a re-organization now might affect the search.

No one answered, which most often means in Pottstown School Board parlance -- "no."

But I don't want to ruin all the fun.

Read the Tweets below and it will be like you were there, except didn't have to miss your favorite Thursday night TV show:

No comments:

Post a Comment