Teachers’ union hits UCF school board over negotiations briefing

Board honors retirees including UHS principal 

By Karen Cresta, Correspondent, The Times

UCFLogoWebEAST MARLBOROUGH – Unionville-Chadds Ford Education Association President Scott Broomall responded with anger during the public comment portion of Monday night Unionville-Chadds Ford Board of Education meeting, over his surprise at the board’s decision to go public early in the process to negotiate a new teacher contract, worse and that it was done on a school day at 10:30 a.m.

His comments earned him a standing ovation by the majority in the audience.

Broomall’s comments came as a new board agenda item – teacher negotiation update – was added last Friday and an extra notice was sent out to the district encouraging the community to be involved after a press briefing was held at the district office Friday morning revealing the status of negotiations for the teachers’ three year contract.

Board member and member of the negotiation team, Greg Lindner, reviewed the report on the status of the negotiations during Monday night’s meeting.  The Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board and the teachers’ union differ in about three percentage points.  According to Lindner, the next steps are to continue to bargain and find a balance between the teachers’ demands and the taxpayers.

Broomall, also a fifth grade teacher at Unionville Elementary made it clear he was upset at the board’s actions.

“I’m not sure if the school board stopped to realize but after the press conference concluded, there were messages to my cell phone, there was a call from the office, interrupting my class, asking if I could take a phone call, and there were e-mails that needed to be responded to from reporters needing comment from our side,” Broomall said. “I appreciate that reporters reached out to our side to get a more complete picture in the process but I am teaching during the day and can’t answer.”

“So, in the middle of my fifth grade class, I’m dealing with interruptions because the press needs comment,” Broomall continued.  “I don’t fault the press at all.  They have a job to do.  I fault the board because if they had given more thought about when doing the press conference and truly cared that instruction that is happening in all the classrooms maybe they would have held the press conference at a different time, one that did not have to impact the students.”

Broomall added, “It’s a bit odd that the district goes public with the sides who are only about three percent apart and there’s still three and a half months to go.”

Broomall went on to add, “You have penalized us.  You have manipulated our proposal to this community.  You have been selective in the information that you presented and you attacked the very professionals that make this a premier school district.”

Broomall put the teachers’ proposal of a 5.01% increase into perspective by stating: “The proposal put forth by the teachers would cost the tax payers about $125 more a year.  That’s $10 a month – $.34 a day.  That seems more than reasonable for our district – a district of our caliber.  That’s a cup of coffee a week.  No teacher is looking to fleece the hard-working taxpayer, but people move to this area because of the school district we have.”

Broomall continued with statistics supporting the premier school district that it is and defended the standpoint that teachers should be compensated accordingly.  He also mentioned that the school district is one of the wealthiest and sought after for residency.

“I hope things change.  There’s still plenty of time to find a reasonable solution and I hope the board hears from many in the community,” Broomall concluded.

Broomall thanked everyone for their time and invited anyone interested in finding out more about what the teachers are doing to go on the new Facebook page – Unionville Chadds-Ford Education Association.

The standing ovation that Broomall received from most members of the audience lasted more than 30 seconds.

During board comment, Kathleen Do stated, “I realize that we’re headed into choppy waters. But I have full confidence that the district’s negotiating team and the teacher’s negotiating team will work with the best interest of the schools, the tax payers and the entire district to come to an equitable resolution.  My message is simple.  As we move forward, don’t ever forget for one moment that you are valued and appreciated by us here.”

The board also approved an 8% increase for Kenneth E. Batchelor’s employment contract as Assistant to the Superintendent.  Carolyn Daniels was the only board member against the vote, citing that timing and some of the terms in in light of the teachers’ negotiations were her reasons.  Robert Sage was not in attendance.

The board was all in favor to approve the authorization to seek bids for Patton Middle School’s renovations planned for this summer.  The renovation includes a relocated entrance and new administration area as well as new classrooms for strings and band.  The board also approved the transfer of more than $1 million from the general fund to the capital reserve fund.  This money that was from the savings of the general obligation bonds will be used for the renovations.

In other news, the board recognized eight district employees for their upcoming retirement.  Among the anticipated retirees was Unionville High School principal Paula Massanari, who will be retiring in July.

Superintendent John Sanville admitted his surprise at Massanari’s announcement since he usually sees the signs of people who are about to retire.  He thanked her for her service and agreed from her personnel file that the words to describe her such as professionalism, character, innate ability, passion, desire to make a difference and honesty were traits that he still sees.

“You are not just leaving us,” Sanville said, “You are leaving us better.”

Visit www.ucfsd.org to view board documents and meeting schedules.

   Send article as PDF   

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.