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Union should have agreed to lower raise

2010-04-26T00:00:00Z Union should have agreed to lower raise The Billings Gazette
April 26, 2010 12:00 am

One percent. A very small number. Amazing how 1 percent could be the difference between the SD2 mill levies success or failure. Had the teachers and BEA been willing to reduce their upcoming raise by 1 percent instead of deferring it, they could have dulled the memory of past strikes and showed the community they cared. They could have started to repair their image and make the taxpayers more receptive to approving the upcoming mill levies. Levies, like political campaigns, succeed or fail on public perception.

I believe a grave mistake was made by BEA members. BEA members are disconnected from the community. Taxpayers are asked to give “pennies on the dollar” to support education through a tax increase. Many people have had to reduce pay or hours or have even lost their jobs. Was 1 percent of a raise teachers have not even seen yet too much to ask? That 1 percent was “pennies on the dollar” for teachers, and they would still have received a 2.6 percent raise. The community is being asked to increase taxes without a pay raise to support education. Why should the teachers, who directly benefit from the levies, not be asked to sacrifice as well? A golden opportunity was missed by the BEA to help insure the success of the levy requests. It would be a shame if the levies failed because of a short-sighted need for 1 percent.

Bill Foote


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