Now we are all in this together.
The Warren County Education Association - the teachers union to most of us -has agreed to a partial pay freeze and higher health insurance premiums in light of a crushing budget shortfall in the Warren County School District.
It might better be termed a pay postponement, since current faculty will still move up a step in grade, but the grade will be essentially what it was the previous year. Theoretically things will be better next year and the school district can afford to maintain the contract that it negotiated with the union.
According to the head of the local teachers union, the vote of the membership was virtually unanimous to take the concession. The result will be the reinstatement of about a dozen teachers who would have been spending their days in unemployment lines rather than classrooms.
Nevertheless, dozens more teachers will be furloughed despite the concession in light of a budget that is nearly $5 million short.
Despite our beneficent governor's protests to the contrary, school districts have already dipped into savings and cut programs and faculty as the result of a new political strategy in the Capitol that seems to indicate that the state would like to gradually slide out from under the yoke of public education.
Keep in mind the teachers did not have to agree to this. They have a contract with the Warren County School District that was negotiated in good faith by both sides. Pessimists might contend that since it is just a pay postponement and retains a dozen union members as a result, it is a somewhat hollow gesture and simply delays the inevitable. Others, however, will see it as a commitment to maintaining educational standards in the face of fiscal difficulty and a signal that teachers are willing to work with the administration to get past this.
Whatever the motivation, the concessions are good news for students, parents and taxpayers alike.