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Nazareth Teachers, District at Odds Over Wage Proposal

It's the Nazareth Area School District's place to make a wage-concession proposal, says the president of the Nazareth Area Education Association, which represents the district's teachers.

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 , 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 -- 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 . The NAEA declined to make a wage concession last year, and the 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.

Chris Miller May 15, 2012 at 12:47 PM
The Nazareth Area School District is proposing a budget of $68,315,784 an increase of 2.3% over the current years budget. This will result in a 0.91 mill or a 1.9 percent mill increase. I just know that all of you received a raise in wages that either matched or surpassed this increase and are content with this budget. At this rate we will be spending over $14,000 per student next year. if that number were a constant number the total 13 years of education at Nazareth would become $182,000. Meanwhile the number of students continues going down while staffing continues to go up. Let me also remind you that the District has a debt of $148 million dollars, interest and principal, that will be paid off in 2035, I willl be on my way to my 91st birthday. If you have questions about this budget I would suggest that you come to the meeting on May 21, at 7:30PM to express your opinion. Despite the 3 minute, what a shame, time limit they will expand it if a lot of people show up. If you believe all is well in Nazareth, well then you can stay on the sofa.
Ben Miller May 15, 2012 at 05:26 PM
I've seen politicians pander for votes, but it's more than a little sad when the tactic has trickled down to a local school board seat. Why don't you have a little decorum and refrain from commenting on stories where you are involved as an elected official? Frankly, I feel a little embarrassed for you. (And NO, we are of no relation, whatsoever)
rm May 15, 2012 at 09:58 PM
"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." Did Mr.Lesky send the letter with at least an indication of what the BOE would consider an acceptible give back?
Rosemary B May 16, 2012 at 06:27 PM
I, as a concerned citizen, appreciate the inside information that Chris Miller brings to his post. I would rather a person with knowledge of the situation comment here and not just armchair quarterbacks.
Ben Miller May 16, 2012 at 09:27 PM
As a good friend of Chris, something you failed to disclose, it's not a surprise to me that you would support him. It's unseemly and embarrassing for Nazareth to have a school board director being so political, talking about the things he has on here in so many articles. Issues like same sex marriage and abortion aren't relevant to the position of School Board member and in this case, it's completely inappropriate for him to be discussing the issue under the guise of a concerned citizen. Notice that he too, failed to disclose that he's a member of the School Board in Nazareth. Nonsense like this and the tit for tat between the Mayor and Police Chief are painting the town in a bad light and I wish people would think of their community a little more than their own egos.
Rosemary B May 17, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Sorry, Ben Miller, it still does not change my opinion that I would rather have someone with knowledge of a situation comment. I also don't think that simply doing your civic duty and holding an office of some sort should preclude you from being able to exercise your right to free speech. I do agree with you that the spat between the Mayor and the Police Dept really needs to be rectified and does no one in Nazareth any good at all.
JBW1984 May 17, 2012 at 09:29 PM
People don't want to pay taxes because they don't have the money. Unfortunately taxes are what support the public education system. I for one as a Nazareth resident and public teacher (not in the Nazareth district) know how important it is to pay for your education and no matter how you face it, money makes a huge difference. People in Nazareth should be proud of the school district and the types of teachers it attracts and students it teaches. If you don't appreciate this district feel free to go to a neighboring district and see what get.... Trust me, my elementary school I work at had 4 weapons charges and one drug charge in this year alone. Not to mention cops and ambulances that were called serveral times to escort students out of the building. Be lucky you live in Nazareth and appreciate what the district has to offer. You pay for what you get!

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