City Desk

Parker to Teachers: Layoffs and Raises Are ‘Distinct Issues’

Washington Teachers' Union President George Parker is urging union members to treat last year's teacher layoff and a breakthrough contract proposal as "distinct issues" after the budgeting revelations earlier this month.

In a letter being sent to WTU members, Parker writes that while he was "surprised and angered" by Chancellor Michelle Rhee's recent claim of a a $34 million DCPS surplus mere months after 266 teachers were laid off for budgetary reasons, he believes both that laid-off teachers should be reinstated and the contract should be funded.

"While it may seem intuitive–in view of the possible budget surplus–to link the issues of funding for the new teacher contract with efforts to reinstate RIF'ed teachers, these important matters must be dealt with separately," Parker writes. Efforts to reinstate the laid-off teachers "should not hinder the progress we have made on behalf of our schools, teachers and students in the new tentative contract."

"The reinstatement of RIF'ed teachers and funding for the new contract are two distinct issues," he writes, "that must be resolved fairly and thoughtfully."

What Parker says he wants most of all is solid information on the DCPS fiscal situation: "Regardless of the existence—or nonexistence—of a budget surplus, the 266 teachers deserve answers and they deserve justice." he writes. "Further, the entire D.C. community, parents, students and teachers deserve to know the truth about the school budget."

Regarding the contract, he fends off charges that he negotiated pay raises on the backs of the fired teachers: "The WTU negotiation team bargained in good faith with the District with the understanding that funding was available to pay for the progressive reforms and all financial provisions of the agreement. It is important to note that the raises in the new tentative contract were not negotiated contingent on DCPS having a surplus in the 2009-2010 budget."

He concludes: "We look forward to fiscal certification and financial approval by the chief financial officer and the city council as quickly as possible so that we can move forward and present the contract to you for a ratification vote."

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Comments

  1. #1

    Teachers get rid of Parker he is a puppet for Rhee.

  2. #2

    George has been a sellout since he cut his deal with Fenty in 2007 .He, Rhee and Fenty are graduates of the Armey-Nickles School of Spin .Teachers should follow the money . Parker is and will continue to be paid well as the union faithful loose their homes and jobs .Call the DOJ RICO Division in to put him away for life .

  3. #3

    Question:
    If there is no money to fund the raises then what? All other agencies are having step and longevity steps frozen.

  4. #4

    "If there is no money to fund the raises then what? All other agencies are having step and longevity steps frozen."

    Not one of the District Agencies have gotten a raise during Fenty's run as Mayor.

  5. #5

    DIVIDE AND CONQUER!

    INSTRUMENTED BY FENTY/RHEE ADMIN TO DISTRACT HOT BUTTON ISSUE GOING INTO ELECTION YEAR.

    WHERE IS THE MONEY COMING FROM? IT WILL ALWAYS BE ARGUED THAT RAISES COULD HAVE SUSTAINED SOME OF THE TEACHERS THAT WERE FIRED.

    SPEAKING ABOUT ONE THING TALKING ABOUT ANOTHER-BUZZ ON STREET IS PRINCIPAL BETTS GOT PROPS FOR DOING GREAT WORK IN REACHING SOME OF THOSE WHO WOULD OTHERWISE FALL BY THE WAYSIDE. HOWEVER, FOLK IN THE CITY FEEL MS. RHEE TAPPED THE WRONG POOL. FIRST OFF SHE SHOULD HAVE REDIRECTED THE TALENT POOL SHE HAD(THAT’S AN ARGUMENT FOR ANOTHER DAY). MOCO TEACHERS AND ADMIN FOR ALL THE GREAT WORK THEY ARE DOING UP NORTH THEIR WHEREWITHAL DOESNT FIT THE TYPE OF TEACHER THAT DCPS NEED IN ORDER TO HAVE THESE CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY NEED TO LEARN.

    WE NEED SOME JOE CLARK'S TO RUN A LOT OF THESE SCHOOLS THAT CAN NOT ONLY GIVE THEM WHAT THEY NEED BUT CAN OFFER UP SOME WARM FUZZIES, SOLID ADVICE, POSITIVE ROLE MODELS AND A STERN TALKING TO AS WELL.

  6. #6

    As a union member, any union president who tells his membership to vote on a contract to get pay raises with money that could have saved the job of a fellow member, in my opinion that president is not serving in the best interest of its membership. Then to tell me the two issues aren't connected is like trying to tell me the sky isn't blue in color.

    J Bright
    DC Firefighters Local 36 International Assoc. of Firefighters

  7. #7

    @SE: Precisely my point! At the budget hearings, (first one Fenty showed up for since taking office), he told the council that step increases and longevity steps would be frozen for all govt employees for 2011.(except teachers)That was before the big blunder by Rhee and the "back at you" by Ghandi. The city is in serious trouble and if there is no money to fund the raises then the teachers should not even try to ratify that contract. I can't see the separation of the issues. In my opinion, the union should just back out if it until it is proven that the money is really there.
    Additionally, I still have a problem with private donors and the govt entity. Has anybody googled these donors? Money is not just given with nothing expected in return. Most of these "foundations" are supporters and backers of charter schools. Watch out for the small print! Would that amount of money totally desolve a union? Are unions in charter schools? Is that the "unclear direction", privitizing public education? There are a whole bunch of questions but you can't expect the answer to come from Rhee, at least not the truth.

  8. #8

    George has sold out the WTU. There is only one issue, the WTU T.A. wasn't negotiated in good faith and used blood money.

    Vote "NO" to the WTU T.A. George is a great disappointment.

    Why would anyone trust the WTU T.A. with individuals who are not trustworthy?

    Read Section 40.2 on the WTU website.

    Enough is Enough, George must GO!

    United We Stand!!!

  9. #9

    Do not trust these liars.

  10. #10
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