New Castle News

Letters to the Editor

February 13, 2012

School district must consider taxpayers in contract talks

NEW CASTLE — Editor, The News:

It is my understanding that our school board is negotiating a new teachers contract.

Considering the economic conditions that exist in our community and country, it would be unconscionable for those representing the teachers union to ask for more monetary benefits and even more unconscionable for our school board to grant them.

Over the years, the New Castle school district has become inundated with employees who are family of school board members (nepotism). As a result, school district employees receive much higher salaries and benefits than the property owners can afford.

It does not make sense that one of the poorest districts in the state, that is heavily in debt, with a shrinking population, shrinking tax base and cuts in state and federal subsidies, continues the spending spree.

Some of the benefits that are in the present contract should be reconsidered. The 16th step in the contract gives teachers a $20,000 increase in salary. This means that a teacher who has worked in the district for 16 years receiving a salary of $60,000 in 2011 will receive $80,000 in 2012.

At this rate, in 30 years their salary will be close to $100,000 a year and their retirement pay will be close to $100,000 (not including their Social Security benefits) for the remainder of their lives.

This type of spending puts a tremendous burden on local and state budgets, resulting in higher taxes. In New Castle, the property taxes are already too high and will get only higher.

Health benefits are another area in the budget that needs to be addressed. The district pays $8,000 to employees who opt out of the district’s health insurance program. Their spouse’s health insurance picks up the medical coverage. Health insurance was never meant to be extra income.

Edward Kelley

Fairfield Avenue

New Castle

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