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Pasco County teachers - It's a survey about furloughs, not a furlough

The United School Employees of Pasco asked teachers late Wednesday to answer a two-question survey about whether they'd support a one-day furlough at the end of the school year.

The initial response was fast and furious.

So this morning, USEP president Lynne Webb sent out an explanatory e-mail under the header, "A Survey is ... a SURVEY, not a VOTE."

"USEP has sure heard an earful from teachers upset about USEP’s “June 11th Furlough” survey," Webb writes.

"The survey was to determine teacher’s interest to change June 11th from a paid workday to an unpaid furlough day in an effort to save money this year to offset health insurance costs next year and to avoid possible employee contributions.

The survey is just that: a survey. It is not a vote. It is not negotiations. It is nothing more than an effort to gauge teacher’s opinions."

Read on for the rest of the memo.

"BACKGROUND:  Over the last several months, the school board and superintendent have been holding workshops to look at next year’s budget and develop plans to meet the revenue shortfall. One of the ideas the school board has mentioned is requiring a $30 a month employee contribution toward health insurance.  Employees have contacted school board members to share their concerns about required health insurance contributions. The idea for the end-of-year furlough actually came from some teachers who mentioned it to school board members.  At a recent school board workshop, USEP president Lynne Webb reminded the school board that the contract was already settled and that any furlough would have to be negotiated and ratified. Both Webb and the superintendent expressed concern over the short notice.  

"School board members discussed the issue again at Tuesday’s school board meeting and suggested trying to find a way to save money this year to help offset employee contributions next year.  

"On Wednesday morning, the superintendent called USEP president and asked USEP to send a survey to see what teachers think. USEP agreed to conduct the survey. USEP agreed to nothing else. No real details were provided; nothing was decided except that if teachers got a furlough day, so would administrators and nonbargaining/noninstructional employees. Their furlough day would not necessarily occur on June 11th, however. The superintendent did not suggest furloughing SRP since the vast majority are already off on June 11th. Many have the student’s last day as their last day.

"CURRENT SITUATION: Some people are having a hard time accessing the online furlough survey. Both the link and survey site are working. Some employees may be using an older version of a web browser. If employees are experiencing difficulty, they should try switching to another newer browser such as Firefox, Safari, or Explorer and paste the link address. http://tinyurl.com/24ojtwq

"Well over 2,000 teachers have responded to the survey, which runs through the end of the day Friday. Over 700 teachers have provided comments. The comments have been very helpful.  

"Whether one likes the ”furlough” idea or not, one should appreciate the opportunity to weigh in BEFORE any decisions are reached. USEP is pleased that the School board and Superintendent are working through USEP to get input from employees. That’s a step in the right direction, and the way it should be. Again, nothing has changed or been decided."

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[Last modified: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 10:07am]

    

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