I recently received two pieces of mail that I have found disconcerting. One is the mailing from K. Doherty, chairman of the teachers’ union. The other from a senior student serving as a “shill” for the science department of The Bromfield School.
Mrs. Doherty made several threats that teachers won’t do extra “detail work” unless we, the resident taxpayers of Harvard, pressured the town to give in to the teachers’ demands for a 90/10 split on the health benefit the teachers would like to have versus the 70/30 split that currently exists for all other town employees. You will not want to forget that this benefit includes the teacher and his/her family.
Give me a break! In the real world, I don’t know any company that offers such largesse to their employees. Many are giving this benefit up. These are people actually work 2040 hours per year — not something that the teachers do.
Having been in charge of a department that employed approximately 500 persons, I believe I am conversant with what constitutes a “benefit.” Benefits are defined by management and are designed to provide enhancements to the employment process that ultimately encourages a person looking for employment to consider taking the job you have advertised — that is if you offer the position in the first place. We don’t chain the teachers to the Harvard school buildings. They can move on if they want.
Who is Kathleen Doherty? She is a social studies teacher who earns $73,000-plus per year and last year accepted $1,000-plus for “detail work” and thus took home over $74,000 plus a health benefit that would satisfy anyone who could get it.
In the old days, part of a teacher’s job responsibilities were what Ms. Doherty calls “detail work,” and they were included in their contracts. It wasn’t until the “robots” challenged the autoworkers that benefits became part of the union contract. I hope that the teachers in the Harvard school system believe themselves to be a little more professional than the lineman on the GM auto line.
Regarding the senior student who sent us all a letter seeking money for the science department. The student used the bulk mailing system I assume. I don’t think the parents had one. I don’t believe the management of the school system should use a senior student and thus teach them that through the process of “begging” there is no need for planning and for the maintenance of the department’s school supplies and capital expenses. That is what is called the “budget process.”
It is important in this discussion to include a few facts about the taxpayers. Ms. Wickman defined the median annual income for the residents of the 10 towns that the teachers union constantly eludes to. For Harvard, it is $40,000-plus per annum.
To add to that are a few facts about Harvard taxable households. That number is 2,250. The majority do not have school-age children. Thirty-two percent of the total are seniors (age 60 and over). Fifty-seven percent of the seniors are single heads of the household and 57 percent of these single heads of households are women.
I do not think either of the mailings deserve a positive response. I urge you to tell the town and school managers to hold the line and offer only what we can afford. Do not forget that next year we will be looking at the possibility of defining public sewage for the town common area and of course we don’t want to forget the maintenance costs of the new, very large library. Thank you for your attention.
Dorothy W. Klutz