The Nazareth Area Education Association has responded to a letter sent by Superintendent Victor Lesky regarding potential wage concessions, but the teachers union does not plan to submit a wage proposal to the district, according to the union's president.
Such a proposal should come from the district -- and if that happens, NAEA will respond, said union president Aris Asdourian. He noted it is not the union's place to initiate a wage-concession proposal.
Asdourian spoke to Patch briefly after Monday's meeting of the Nazareth School Board, which he attended. He declined a seemingly impromptu offer from board President Lorin Bradley to address the board and the public during a discussion of the 2012-2013 budget.
The budget proposal -- which the school board plans to approve on May 21 -- has good and bad news for district teachers. It calls for seven teaching positions to be eliminated through attrition -- mainly from retirements -- but it does not project any teacher layoffs or furloughs.
“Of course I am happy to hear that,” Asdourian said about the lack of layoffs.
However, he expressed concern that reduction in teaching staff through attrition could lead to larger classroom size and eventually reduce the standard of education in the district, which he described as very high.
“The more teachers you eliminate the harder it is to deliver the quality of education we are used to,” Asdourian said.
He fielded an analogy from the world of sports to emphasize his point.
“You can't win at baseball with seven players,” he said. “If you want to play winning baseball you need to put nine players on the field.”
Tension between the school board and the teachers union has simmered since last year's contentious budget negotiations. The NAEA declined to make a wage concession last year, and the school's driver education program was eliminated for the 2011-12 school year.
The school board in January directed Lesky to send a letter to the NAEA, requesting a wage reduction or other concessions for the 2012-2013 budget.