Teachers’ union hits school board over negotiations briefing

Board honors retirees including UHS principal 

By Karen Cresta, Correspondent, The Times

UCFLogoWebEAST MARLBOROUGH – Unionville-Chadds Ford Education Association President Scott Broomall responded with anger during the public comment portion of Monday night Unionville-Chadds Ford Board of Education meeting, over his surprise at the board’s decision to go public early in the process to negotiate a new teacher contract, worse and that it was done on a school day at 10:30 a.m.

His comments earned him a standing ovation by the majority in the audience.

Broomall’s comments came as a new board agenda item – teacher negotiation update – was added last Friday and an extra notice was sent out to the district encouraging the community to be involved after a press briefing was held at the district office Friday morning revealing the status of negotiations for the teachers’ three year contract.

Board member and member of the negotiation team, Greg Lindner, reviewed the report on the status of the negotiations during Monday night’s meeting.  The Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board and the teachers’ union differ in about three percentage points.  According to Lindner, the next steps are to continue to bargain and find a balance between the teachers’ demands and the taxpayers.

Broomall, also a fifth grade teacher at Unionville Elementary made it clear he was upset at the board’s actions.

“I’m not sure if the school board stopped to realize but after the press conference concluded, there were messages to my cell phone, there was a call from the office, interrupting my class, asking if I could take a phone call, and there were e-mails that needed to be responded to from reporters needing comment from our side,” Broomall said. “I appreciate that reporters reached out to our side to get a more complete picture in the process but I am teaching during the day and can’t answer.”

“So, in the middle of my fifth grade class, I’m dealing with interruptions because the press needs comment,” Broomall continued.  “I don’t fault the press at all.  They have a job to do.  I fault the board because if they had given more thought about when doing the press conference and truly cared that instruction that is happening in all the classrooms maybe they would have held the press conference at a different time, one that did not have to impact the students.”

Broomall added, “It’s a bit odd that the district goes public with the sides who are only about three percent apart and there’s still three and a half months to go.”

Broomall went on to add, “You have penalized us.  You have manipulated our proposal to this community.  You have been selective in the information that you presented and you attacked the very professionals that make this a premier school district.”

Broomall put the teachers’ proposal of a 5.01% increase into perspective by stating: “The proposal put forth by the teachers would cost the tax payers about $125 more a year.  That’s $10 a month – $.34 a day.  That seems more than reasonable for our district – a district of our caliber.  That’s a cup of coffee a week.  No teacher is looking to fleece the hard-working taxpayer, but people move to this area because of the school district we have.”

Broomall continued with statistics supporting the premier school district that it is and defended the standpoint that teachers should be compensated accordingly.  He also mentioned that the school district is one of the wealthiest and sought after for residency.

“I hope things change.  There’s still plenty of time to find a reasonable solution and I hope the board hears from many in the community,” Broomall concluded.

Broomall thanked everyone for their time and invited anyone interested in finding out more about what the teachers are doing to go on the new Facebook page – Unionville Chadds-Ford Education Association.

The standing ovation that Broomall received from most members of the audience lasted more than 30 seconds.

During board comment, Kathleen Do stated, “I realize that we’re headed into choppy waters. But I have full confidence that the district’s negotiating team and the teacher’s negotiating team will work with the best interest of the schools, the tax payers and the entire district to come to an equitable resolution.  My message is simple.  As we move forward, don’t ever forget for one moment that you are valued and appreciated by us here.”

The board also approved an 8% increase for Kenneth E. Batchelor’s employment contract as Assistant to the Superintendent.  Carolyn Daniels was the only board member against the vote, citing that timing and some of the terms in light of the teachers’ negotiations were her reasons.  Robert Sage was not in attendance.

The board was all in favor to approve the authorization to seek bids for Patton Middle School’s renovations planned for this summer.  The renovation includes a relocated entrance and new administration area as well as new classrooms for strings and band.  The board also approved the transfer of more than $1 million from the general fund to the capital reserve fund.  This money that was from the savings of the general obligation bonds will be used for the renovations.

In other news, the board recognized eight district employees for their upcoming retirement.  Among the anticipated retirees was Unionville High School principal Paula Massanari, who will be retiring in July.

Superintendent John Sanville admitted his surprise at Massanari’s announcement since he usually sees the signs of people who are about to retire.  He thanked her for her service and agreed from her personnel file that the words to describe her such as professionalism, character, innate ability, passion, desire to make a difference and honesty were traits that he still sees.

“You are not just leaving us,” Sanville said, “You are leaving us better.”

Visit www.ucfsd.org to view board documents and meeting schedules.

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  1. TE Res says:

    Per a story published in Chadds Ford Live:

    “Director Keith Knauss defended the raise for two reasons. He said Batchelor has been doing two jobs since Sharon Allen-Spann, the former director of personnel, resigned two years ago, and because Batchelor is highly sought after when other school districts are looking for a new superintendent.”

    This justification for an 8% pay increase for Administrator Batchelor,, by Keith Knauss, is the same justification used in TE to hire TWO new administrators at top of the pay scale salaries to replace ONE Administrator retiring at an over the top pay scale salary. Decisions made by Board members in Radnor, TE, Lower Merion, UCF, affect us all. There are many highly qualified people, (teachers and Administrators) standing in line, who would take an Administrative in TE or UCF for a fraction of these salaries. Further, Keith’s comment, “I’m willing to pay market value to keep Ken……………”

    Keith is creating a market value by pushing this salary way beyond what a counterpart in the private sector would get, who BTW, has to pay for these salaries, including Healthcare and PSERS that he/she will never get. It’s time for citizens to step in and say enough!

    I am not advocating for big pay increases for any public sector employees especially when so many in the private sector, who pay for these salaries, benefits and pensions are economically suffering, and have been for years, but TEACHERS PERFORM THE JOB OF 5 people, especially at the High School level, and they don’t make anywhere near what Administrators make but no one is going to bat for them or employees in the Private sector, who pay for this and who are now performing duties that entire departments that have been eliminated used to perform.

    No disrespect to Administrator Batchelor, I’m sure he is a smart highly qualified person, but this is not a justification for burdening the tax payer further when it is not necessary.


  2. TE Resident says:

    The board also approved an 8% increase for Kenneth E. Batchelor’s employment contract as Assistant to the Superintendent. Carolyn Daniels was the only board member against the vote, citing that timing and some of the terms in in light of the teachers’ negotiations were her reasons. Robert Sage was not in attendance.

    So the Board calls a press conference Friday morning when they know 5th grade teacher and Union leader, Scott Broomall is in class and can’t possible respond. Then, on Monday, they announce an 8% pay increase for Administrator Batchelor when they had just at the same meeting, heard from a very ruffled Broomall about their resistance in granting teachers a 3% increase in their pay.

    This board is either extremely tone deaf or they have a double secret strategy no person other than themselves can understand. Good luck!

    • terrance says:

      Bringing the wants of the teachers to the public eye was the right thing to do. A little contention never hurt anyone. 5% per year for three years you got to be kidding me.
      I am sure there are plenty of good teachers that would love to work in the UCF school district, for a lot less. It is time to bring merit increases to the forefront.
      Time to stop the fleecing of the tax payer.

      • TE says:

        I agree. Shining a light on the negotiation process is the right thing to do. However, using sneaky, underhanded and disrespectful tactics like the Board used when they called a press conference (on a Friday no less, giving Scott the weekend to stew) during the school day when they knew Scott Broomall could not and would not respond and they knew the press would call him and they knew the press would e-mail him and they knew Scott would feel agitated and upset and double bound because he was in class with a bunch of 10 year olds and would be unable to respond. Were they hoping for an emotional outburst from Scott? To discredit Scott and undermine his credibility? It’s easy to blame the one who yells, No one understands that better than Keith, VIc and Jeff. interesting that Keith, and VIc were picked for the negotiating team.

        Like I said, I’m not advocating for big salary increases for any segment. I don’t know about UCF, but around here, TE, Lower Merion and Radnor, there are 300 to 400 job applicants for every available teacher position. Relatively speaking, administrator positions are the same. GIve the teachers their salary increases, (I really don’t care about that) structure healthcare so their contributions match what workers in the private sector pay, and work for pension reform. Elect Board Members who truly represent citizens they were elected to serve instead of who work for administrators who grant themselves big raises and bonuses, while at the same exact time, offer teachers a small fraction of what they are granting themselves,(no questions asked) and outsourcing valuable employees who care for our most vulnerable students citing budget concerns. And how about a break for we private sector working stiffs, who pay for this but don’t get it ourselves.

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