REAL LIFE IN GOVERNMENT

Saturday, August 4th – Today, after the rain, I met someone who once played an important role in our city. This is an abridged version of the story:
Not so long ago, the school committee didn’t have enough money in the budget to meet the request of the teacher’s union. The school committee figured out a fiscal compromise. If the teachers could accept level funding for an additional six weeks beyond the end of their contract, they could then save the jobs of 8 teachers. After mid-August the teachers would then get their raise.
    But
The union turned down the school committee’s offer. The budget was too tight and eight teachers were laid off. The teachers did not even get to vote on the compromise offer.
     Both of my wives were teachers. On one occasion we had to make a similar decision. Accept level funding or see other teachers get laid off. We decided it was best to live at the same income for a while so other teachers and their families could have a job. The teachers union took a poll of all the teachers and they accepted the compromise. No one was laid off.
     If I were on the city council I would not want to see qualified teachers/city employees laid off. But in a tight financial year it might mean employees are offered less to save jobs.
 I hope it never comes to this. But compromises are sometimes necessary to keep our city solvent and people working.
I hope to have a happy story tomorrow.
Ty, on the trail.
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Ty runs into two Attleboro High School seniors

Monday I met a pair of Attleboro High School seniors who live on Phillips Street. They said the biggest problem is with the school administration. I asked what they meant and they replied, “The principals need to be more concerned with what is going on inside the classroom and with the teachers. They’ve been focusing too much on the building.”

I asked them if anything seemed different since the layoffs two years ago. They answered, “Teachers were definitely more stressed this year. Most of them are teaching in front of the class now instead of walking around the classroom checking in with individual students. A lot of teachers seem to be struggling with the increase in the size of classes.”
I asked them if this is true with all their classes. They responded, “The Honors courses don’t seem to be affected because those classes are smaller. But teachers are stressed out in our other classes.”
When I was leaving, both students shook my hand, smiled and said, “Thank you for the visit.”
Let’s listen to our students.