NILES, Mich. — About 100 teachers carrying signs showed up at a recent Niles Community Schools board of education meeting to protest the board’s latest contract offer, according to The Niles Daily Star. The protesters claimed the signs, which had various percentages ranging from 19.5 to 28.3 written on them, represented the real decrease in total compensation each teacher was facing should the union accept the offer.
“We wanted to remind the board that their last best offer’s overall impact is more than just a 7 percent or 8 percent decrease in pay; it also includes insurance costs,” teachers’ union President Katherine Elsner told The Star. “That impacts the community as a whole. For every dollar we make, we spend about $1.50 in the community.”
Board president Jeff Curry argued the spending reductions were essential to prevent the district from running a deficit as soon as the 2013-14 school year, according to The Star.
“Simply stated, our cost exceeds our revenue and we are entrusted to balance the budget,” Curry told The Star. “We are burning through over $200,000 a month right now, and we cannot afford to do that and educate our kids.”
According to The Star, the two sides failed to reach an agreement after state mediation last year and are currently completing a fact finding process.
The Niles Daily Star, “Teachers protest contract offer," Feb. 20, 2012
Michigan Education Report, “Niles secretaries take 2.5 percent pay cut,” Jan. 29, 2012