Throughout this timeline, the UTEA met with and spoke to Superintendent Tatum, Assistant Business Administrator Vieira, and Board of Education President Minneci. The superintendent made an offer on July 12, to the association, prior to the release of the RFBs, which would have decimated the health benefits for all the 156 paraprofessionals. The UTEA made a counteroffer on July 29 which took into account the actual projected savings from the RFBs. The superintendent rejected the offer made by the UTEA without a counteroffer.
It is UTEA’s belief that Superintendent Tatum will be recommending the district accept the bid with a company called Effective Schools Solutions (ESS) at the next board meeting.
“We offered the board of education several different ways to save our paras,” said Ann-Margaret Shannon, UTEA president. “After reviewing the RFBs, we made a counteroffer which was substantially similar to the one the BOE was entertaining with ESS in terms of savings and would have provided the majority of all our paras with health benefits, but the board rejected it with no explanation. It’s plain and simple, they say they care, but they don’t care enough. Don’t they want to have employees in the district who care about students the way we do? It’s really just a numbers game. I’m sorry, but our members are not numbers.”
“We could have resolved this in negotiations this fall,” said Rich D’Avanzo, Vice-President. “Instead the board is firing our paraprofessionals and hiring this company, which is completely irresponsible. Anyone can tell you that a simple internet search will yield that this company has changed names at least three times and has documented negligence and poor performance which has initiated districts to reverse their decisions about firing district employees.”
On August 20th before the board of education meeting the Union Township Education Association will be rallying on behalf of these fired paraprofessionals. We are asking the parents and community to attend to share their concerns.
“All the members of the UTEA make-up the school team which ensures student success”, Shannon continued. “The UTEA stands with our students, our schools, and our community. The UTEA members are residents, voters, and members of the community—volunteers in service organizations, churches and synagogues, scouts, and sports teams. UTEA members care about students because their own children and grandchildren go to Union Township Schools. Our members take pride in our schools.”
Please contact: Ann-Margaret Shannon at firstname.lastname@example.org