Union: Nampa contract offer ‘untenable’

Nampa’s teachers’ union hasn’t made its counteroffer to erase a projected $3.5 million shortfall, but the president of the union is panning the district’s offer.

“A simple connecting of the dots indicates that compulsory furlough days and other drastic cuts will result in less classroom time for teachers, which will in turn lead to negative effects on the education of students,” Nampa Education Association President Mandy Simpson said in a statement. “At a time when educational expectations and standards are rising, the Nampa School District has taken an approach that will make it much more difficult for district students to keep up.”

On Friday, the Nampa School Board proposed 14 furlough days for 2013-14 — cuts that would trim $2.6 million from the shortfall. The board’s offer also suggested cuts in benefits, and passing on 15 percent of health insurance costs to district employees. Union representatives did not make a counteroffer Friday.

In her statement, Simpson said teachers will have to make some “concessions” to alleviate a budget crisis caused by a series of accounting errors. However, she offered no specifics.

The next negotiating session will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in district offices, 619 S. Canyon St., Nampa. The session is open to the public.

Here’s the full statement from Simpson:

We are disappointed that the Nampa School District has chosen to put forth a proposal that Is both untenable for the district’s dedicated teachers and harmful to its students. The district’s teachers recognize the need for sacrifice on everyone’s part in order to deal with the unfortunate budgetary shortfall, but teachers and students are being asked to take on an unreasonable burden — one that could have a devastating impact on public education in Nampa.

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A simple connecting of the dots indicates that compulsory furlough days and other drastic cuts will result in less classroom time for teachers, which will in turn lead to negative effects on the education of students. At a time when educational expectations and standards are rising, the Nampa School District has taken an approach that will make it much more difficult for district students to keep up. In addition, the shortsighted proposal would make attracting and retaining quality teachers extremely challenging.

The Nampa Education Association has consistently tried to be flexible and collaborative in finding solutions to the_ financial crisis created by the administrative and accounting errors of district officials. We recognize the need for concessions on the part of Nampa teachers to help alleviate this regrettable budgetary issue, and stand ready to negotiate in good faith with the district.