Sunday, March 28, 2010

Negotiating with the teachers' union - OPEB

In an effort to minimize the impact of the current school budget gap, I suggest the following:

1) the teachers' union again offers the "promissory days" (valued at $491,000)

in exchange for:

2) OPEB funding

As I suggested in the linked post, OPEB funding is supposed to start next year. But as I understand it, there will not be any rigid enforcement. So although Cheshire is slated to begin funding the OPEB account in next year's budget to the tune of $2,000,000 annually... all bets are off because there is no requirement to do it.

Nonetheless, I'd like to begin paying down the Town's long-term liabilities. And since the lion's share of the OPEB fund will be spent on retired teachers, I'm thinking the town could exchange OPEB funding this year for the promissory days. In other words, this would not be a deferment. The teachers' union would exchange promissory days for guaranteed funding for their retirement healthcare benefits.

And since I've already passed along the idea, let's see if the union returns to the table now...

Tim White


Anonymous said...

Great idea!

Anonymous said...

This is a good idea!

And I hope that the teachers' union realizes that they will start to lose parents' support if they don't do their part and offer something. I have children in the school system and although I value education, I haven't had a raise in 3 years, let alone a 4.4% one.

Anonymous said...

Tim, I don't understand the idea. Since the Town is obligated to fund the OPEB account regardless of what happens in this budget cycle how is guaranteeing $491K to the OPEB a compromise from the town? Unless I'm mistaken, the education budget already accounts for retiree medical benefits.

From a taxpayer's point of view, this doesn't do anything to help lower encumbered liabilities or bloated contracts.

From a union's point of view...this is an empty compromise from the town. Saying the town will 'guarantee' funding something it's obligated to fund, will fund and actually funds today is silly.

Did the TC lose it's balls since the EAC meeting last week? For shame Tim.

Anonymous said...

"Since the Town is obligated to fund the OPEB account regardless of what happens in this budget cycle how is guaranteeing $491K to the OPEB a compromise from the town?"

Tim wrote that the town is not required to do so.
Where are you getting that it is obligated?
Who is right here?

Anonymous said...

I think what 10:56 means is that the BOE is required to fund medical benefits for retirees in their budget. They do so every year. This year's budget proposal shows medical benefits for retirees going up. In essence, the BOE has already been funding other benefits for retirees within education. I don't think the school district has a choice on medical benefits for retirees. I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

The only way to get real savings is to have staff cuts.

Last year to avert cuts, teaches were offered a retirement bonus. Funny that even the teachers that had planned to retired got an extra bonus. When you consider that the union kept crying that the poor children would suffer from the staff cuts, but after the incentive to retire was offered, the crying stopped.

The point is that it is not about the students. Retiring teacher got more money and that was O'K. As long as they get more bucks for retiring, staff cuts due to retiring has little if any effect on education.

These union people have to get a wakeup call. Stop pleading with them, just cut the positions and let them figure it out. .

Anonymous said...

It seems that if the teachers knew that if the money from the promisory days went directly to retirement benefits, rather than something ridiculous like the town pool, they might be receptive to that.