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EAST MORICHES TEACHERS: WHY WON'T OUR DISTRICT ACCEPT SACRIFICES?

LongIsland.com

The district had rejected the union's offer to sacrifice pay and delay step increases to help East Moriches residents overcome the financial storm.

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East Moriches, N.Y. April 18, 2011 - The East Moriches Teachers Association said today the school district has "lost focus" for rejecting immediate cost-savings to taxpayers over a two year period-money that can be used to preserve programs, services and class sizes for students.

East Moriches Teachers Association President Daniel McGuire said the school district's Superintendent informed him that the district had rejected the union's offer to sacrifice pay and delay step increases to help East Moriches residents overcome the financial storm.

"Our teachers are community members and taxpayers, too. We sincerely understand these extremely difficult economic times. This is why we were willing to sacrifice pay and step increases in order to provide savings. Teachers of the East Moriches community are very proud of the education and services we provide to our students. We are striving to maintain the education, services and programs for all the students in our schools. Our small learning community gives the students a personalized learning environment, where all of our students are known well by our teachers," McGuire said. "It's irresponsible and not educationally sound, and we believe the board will have a lot to explain to East Moriches taxpayers."

McGuire said the East Moriches Teachers Association is seeking a teacher's evaluation system that allows for an impartial appeal's process. The district insist that the Superintendent be the sole and final arbiter of appeals of ratings of a teacher "ineffective" which could result in dismissal and will not accept the union's financial savings to the community without it. "It is completely reasonable to seek to have an appeal process that reviews the decision to rate a teacher as ineffective by more than the Superintendent," McGuire said. "We are willing to make financial sacrifices for the good of our students and community members- and it is worrisome that the district is unable to remove politics from the classroom.

McGuire said the East Moriches Teachers Association is eager to continue negotiations with the district "in an attempt to find a fair solution to all." He said, however, he would not allow East Moriches teachers to be demonized when they offered to step up and sacrifice. Serious discussions can and should take place, but they must take place with teachers having a voice, as full partners, from the very beginning. Collaboration and partnership are important ideals in education. We have very dedicated and supportive parents in our community who value education for all of our students and although they, too, are concerned about the future of the district, we're confident they will see the approach to strong-arm the teachers in our small community is not fair and makes a mockery of the idea of collaboration, transparency and partnership," McGuire said.