January 12, 2010

RUSD, teachers reach salary agreement, sans QEO

The QEO is gone, and the Racine Unified School District and Racine Education Association have reached a tentative 2009-2011 Teacher Labor Agreement.

No details have been released, so Unified taxpayers will just have to wait a little longer to see whether the state's repeal of the 1993 Qualified Economic Offer has also eliminated what many perceived as a spending cap. The law allowed school districts to dictate a contract, avoiding arbitration, as long as they offered teachers a 3.8 percent increase in salary and benefits. The QEO was widely believed to have held down teachers salaries and was a major target of teachers for years -- until it was repealed this summer during state budget negotiations.

The proposed contract will not be made public, according to a joint statement sent out by Unified and the REA this afternoon, until the REA ratifies it. Then the taxpayers will have three days to consider the tentative agreement, until RUSD's board meets to vote on it.

The statement from Unified says:
The settlement will become official after the Board of Education and the REA have ratified the tentative agreement by a majority vote. The REA ratification meeting is on Jan.21. If the REA ratifies, the tentative agreement will be released for public review on Jan. 22. Subsequently, the Board of Education will consider the tentative agreement during its scheduled meeting on Jan. 25.

To facilitate the discussions, the parties used a problem solving approach to negotiations. The tentative agreement supports the North Star Vision and provides solutions to tough problems such as the current economic environment and closing achievement gaps.
Before the QEO was enacted, school boards and teachers' unions often engaged in heated battles. Long-time Racinians recall the two-month teachers' strike in 1977. Supporters of the QEO have insisted that, without it, teachers will demand higher and higher salaries, irrespective of the local economy. Others, however, say this will not be the case. State Sen. John Lehman, who was a teacher before entering the Legislature, says teachers will be reasonable.

He told the Racine Taxpayers' Association in July, "I have said to my teacher friends, 'Recognize that these are tough times and don't get greedy.' "


  1. Good for them if they got this done within the current budget. If the deal means our taxes go up next year after this year's 10.9% increase then there better be a new board elected next year. This community can not continue to be taxed over 10% per year.

  2. Please screw us to the max we so enjoy paying more and more for failing schools

  3. Is it failing schools or parents failing their kids? Teachers are doing their best to teach challenging kids and are given little support from the District. Of course it's much easier to just complain and blame it on the teachers.

  4. 9:23 - Yes, I agree the parents are failing and the teachers are fantastic. I just don't understand fully why the budget, in turn my tax rate, is increasing exponentially but yet the population is not.


  5. How much have the healthcare premiums gone up? What did they cut to compensate for that?

  6. Most people got no raise in pay in 20091/13/2010 7:51 AM

    Teh fact that this deal got done so quickly suggests that the taxpayers got the short end of the stick We'll see.....

  7. Sure sounds like pay for performance - Not. Most busineses have cut wages or they are frozen. Let's give these useless people a raise for providing the worst scores in the state. The board should be proud of themselves.They are also useless.

  8. NO MORE!!!!!
    Unemployment up to 17% in Racine.
    52% amongst young black men.
    Foreclosures at record levels.
    Property values down but Property taxes go UP.
    Obama and Doyle raising taxes on EVERYTHING.
    Heating, electric and auto gas rising.
    Inflation is eminent.
    Businesses closing and leaving.
    Schools failing.
    So the teachers want a raise???
    We need to wipe the slate clean in November. Vote OUT the spenders and FIRE the rest. Tell SEIU (The teachers union) to #$ &*(^ $#@!@#%^
    NO MORE!!!!!

  9. HunterJohn,

    Didn't see you at the Dem party meeting on Monday... was looking forward to having an oppossing viewpoint.

    Also, the teachers union is not SEIU... it is REA.

    You have interesting ideas, but come across as ignorant when you don't get simple facts right.

  10. In 5 years and Racine has lost another 8,000 in population and the rest of the large employers other then J.Wax who will be paying the tax bills?

  11. teachers deserve what they get for payment. they have to deal with hundreds of students each day. some motivated many not. many personalities and many attitudes. everyone complaining should try to do the job they do. how many of you deal with more than a dozen people per day?

    we found that a little parental interest will help the teachers realize that there are involved parents at the students home.

    with such big black unemployment it is the parents who must stress that selling drugs on the street and robbery is not a long term vocation to the students.

    which schools are failing?

    how will changing the lawmakers change the education of the students?

    how many opposed to the teachers pact are actually involved with the school board?

    stop bitchin' and get involved.

    the taxpayers assoc is a joke!

  12. firefly - you are an idiot. The schools are a mess - they rank the lowest in the state. You say teachers have to deal - they are suppose to be teaching not dealing. They do nothing and deserve nothing. When the annual referendum comes up again - everyone should vote hell NO!

  13. Let us put the truth out there. The test scores are low. That is very disappointing to those paying for the schools. Yet, those paying do not know a few little known facts. Kids use calculators, open book, are allowed to have note cards etc. In fact the scores should be high and still are not. We need a full overhaul and need to teach on a check sheet basis. I just tutored a child in seventh grade who could not add 3 numbers together. She could not subtract 4 digit numbers. She could not multiply 2 digit numbers. Her reading level was low third grade. Yet she was getting pretty decent grades As,Bs and Cs. When would the teacher or this school system catch that she couldn't actually do what is expected?

  14. Why pay them, we have kids that can't read when they enter high school. I would say about 75% of teachers don't give a rats butt about students! Pass them and send them on their way.

  15. Heather in Caledonia1/13/2010 2:54 PM

    There are so many things that I think would help the school system, but they're such big changes that I don't think they'd ever happen. Just a few: 1) Teachers need to be paid on merit - just like most of the rest of the world. 2) Students should not pass a class if they don't understand it - they should be allowed to move at their own pace through each subject - held back in math, but allowed to pass in English, for example. 3) School choice needs to truly be allowed... customers should be able to take their $5,000 per student to a private school if they so desire. Of course... 1) The teachers union would have a fit. As public employees, teacher's pay is public knowledge and it wouldn't go over well with them to have their co-workers know their pay. This could be solved by anonymous reporting. 2) The way the schools are setup, they can't accommodate individual learning levels. 3) I know some private schools wouldn't want this because there would be requirements they would need to meet to get the money. I bet there would be quite a few, though, that would meet those requirements and happily take the students.

    The taxes will continue to skyrocket and it will be the same old thing... poor results, more studies and more ineffective attempts to correct the problem. The entire system needs an overhaul, in my opinion.

  16. It's 95 percent on the students and parents. Many public students just don't care and don't try. And why should they? They face no reprimand from parents. There's no way a teacher can fight that. And -- RUSD teachers can correct me if I'm wrong on this -- it's nearly impossible for a teacher to fail a student or hold a student back for a year, because of the paperwork and logistical nightmare that ensues, and which then risks funding cutbacks for non-performance. No Child Left Behind has lowered standards and tied teachers' hands.

    You wonder why so many parents choose St. Cats, Lutheran, or Prairie? Contrary to some of the whiners on this site, those are not "rich" schools ... there are many working-class families who bust their butts scraping, saving, and going into debt to send their kids there, not because the teachers are necessarily better, but to get them away from large groups of apathetic students and into an environment where students must actually work hard to make grades. (Yes, many families have found out the hard way that paying tuition does not guarantee passing grades.)

    The only solution is to allow teachers and administrators to assign failing grades, hold back students who don't meet standards for grade levels, expel students who chronically misbehave, and support students by giving them individualized help in subjects when need it. It's hopeless until that happens. I'm not holding my breath.

  17. I don't think many people disagree that what teachers do is valuable to the community just like everyone else who works for a living. The issue with raises in this economy is that most people in government and business have been living without raises for a year or more. It is hard to argue a raise from the taxpayers right now when the taxpayers are getting raises. Most local government employees have been working without raises for more than a year just to keep their jobs.

    None of this discussion should be about the value of the teachers work but rather about the ability of the taxpayers to pay more in this economy. The answer is the taxper is tapped out.

    That is one reason so many in the community were shocked when RUSD proposed the multi-million dollar referendum recently. Talk about the worst time in modern history to suggest such an idea. This isn't the time to expect more out of a community with over 17% unemployment and empty houses in every neighborhood. That is the definition of out of touch.

  18. A lot does fall on parents. But if your child is bringing home good grades how are you going to find out they can't do basic math? I totally agree that children need to be learning individually on check sheets. They do not move on until they master an area. Then we will see truly educated students and a better community because of it.

  19. How do you find out? Sit with them occasionally. Review their homework from time to time.