Aug 30, 2017

A Small Break For Allentown School Taxpayers


Although, the Allentown School Taxes went up this year, one expense has gone down; Starting this year the teacher's union will pay their boss's salary, instead of the school district. This change is one result of a lawsuit filed by Scott Armstrong and Steven Ramos.

The Armstrong/Ramos suit also seeks back salary paid to the union leader, Debbie Tretter, since 2009. Tretter is an Allentown teacher, but is relieved of teaching duties to serve full time in her union position. This practice is known as ghost teaching, and is widespread throughout Pennsylvania.

Armstrong and Ramos, who often comment here, are tenacious advocates for their beliefs.  Armstrong would now like Allentown voters to realize that Ray O'Connell was a supporter of the arrangement, which paid Tretter with their tax money.

ADDENDUM: WEDNESDAY 11:00AM. My statement above about O'Connell  supporting the arrangement was a paraphrase from an Armstrong comment yesterday on Facebook.  O'Connell just contacted me to say that he never had any involvement in the negotiations that permitted that arrangement.  I had messaged O'Connell's Facebook campaign page seeking comment yesterday, but he apparently did not see the message.

This blogger attended Jefferson Elementary, shown above, starting in the 3rd grade. At that time, Lehigh Parkway only went through 2nd grade, and we were then bused to Jefferson.

16 comments:

Jeffrey Anthony said...

This is a great step forward, but the bigger question is why teachers are the only members of a learned profession forced against their will to join a labor union. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc, all have the Dignity of Choice, but somehow our education professionals are considered second class citizens when it comes to choosing whether to join a professional organization.

Let's make our next goal to do this the American way and give our teachers the Dignity of Choice. Membership should be their decision, not some labor boss's.

Ray Nemeth Sr said...

If you need a union, you are not in the professional class, a step in the right direction, next, the school district should not be responsible for collecting union dues. This is a private arrangement between the employees and the union. They should collect their own dues.

Scott Armstrong said...

Mike,

I asked the question of Robert Trotner,a vocal Ray supporter, who posts with a Ray O'Connell campaign sign as a moniker. It is a fair question, he refused to answer. If I was posting on social media in a similar fashion it would be fair to question to ask if my public statements represented the views of "my" candidate. Of course I would never post like that if I was a prominent advocate for a local candidate because I would understand the views I expressed would be associated with that candidate. The fact that Robert doesn't get that, is just another demonstration of the complete political naivete of Ray, his campaign, and his supporters.

Fire the incompetants said...

In essence, Doctors are part of a union through their membership in the Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke's University Health Network. Since my doctor joined up/or sought refuge with the Lehigh Valley Health Network: Quality of the staff has lowered, personal time with the doctor has disappeared, the facility is second rate, and his prices almost doubled. I guess the same can be said in our school districts.

Robert Trotner said...

I didn't refuse to answer. That is not true. I said i believed that the union had made concessions to get a full time union representative and that the coart decision unfairly gave the school district the benefit of both a part time union representative and those concessions. (I have since been told that the court decision only applies to the next union-school district contract negotiation, which seems fair to me, but I don't know whether that's true. ) I also said I do not speak for on this and I dont know his position. I also said he should ask Rat a it this directly. I don't know why Jeffrey couldn't understand this. Or Scott. Unless it was a political ploy and not an honest position. That I can readily understand. But they shocks be honest about their motivation.

Robert Trotner said...

Please forgive the typos.

Jamie Kelton said...

Why is the Allentown School District, and I presume all public school districts in Pennsylvania closed union shops?

I also would believe this is why teacher unions are so against any real change in the way we educate students, especially though charter schools or with educational vouchers. Teachers have the school district administrators by the throat, and when they want something they squeeze hard enough and know they can get it. After all, no non-union teachers, there us "unanimity" in walking out

It's as if our public school systems are run by the Mafia.

Scott Armstrong said...

24 P.S. sec. 6-610 says the use or payment of any school funds of any school district, in any manner or for any purpose not provided in the public school code “shall be illegal.” Release time is not authorized anywhere in the public school code, and it doesn’t fall within any of the leave exceptions that are included in the public school code. Because it is not authorized anywhere in the code, under 6-610 it is illegal.

My angle/motivation? Simple enough; what is legal under existing PA codes, and what is fair to the taxpayers.

Scott Armstrong said...

Robert,

Your spelling is as bad as mine. Until computers came along I had dictionaries on hand to write even the most basic letters, or messages. This inability to spell prevented me from liking school and pursuing higher education.
I always say, Question;what did they call kids who couldn't spell in the sixties and seventies? Answer; stupid.

Jeffrey Anthony said...

@8:45 Mr. Trotner,

Just to be clear, I wasn't criticizing you in any way. I was just speaking in general about the Dignity of Choice for our education professionals and the importance of knowing candidates' positions on such a fundamental question of liberty and democracy -- even candidates for positions other than school board.

I meant no offense to you, and, honestly, didn't even have you in mind when I made my comments.

Steven Ramos said...

A handful of School Districts in Pennsylvania have these slots where a full time union representative is being payed by the school district as if they were a teacher and being given credit towards pension and retirement. Employees of all professions are free to organize but they should be responsible for the costs of their organization and the payment of their leadership. This is a victory for taxpayers, parents, students and teachers. I include teachers because this frees the union to represent its members and the school board to represent its payers without any conflict of interest.

michael molovinsky said...

My statement above about O'Connell supporting the arrangement was a paraphrase from an Armstrong comment yesterday on Facebook. O'Connell just contacted me to say that he never had any involvement in the negotiations that permitted that arrangement. I had messaged O'Connell's Facebook campaign page seeking comment yesterday, but he apparently did not see the message.

Scott Armstrong said...

Mike,

I don't believe Ray was ever part of union leadership and my comment yesterday on this subject was directed more towards Robert who, as long as he is posting with the Ray campaign sign as a moniker should temper statements that could be seen as controversial by some voters.

There was some negative reaction to his comments on that Facebook page. Sure you noticed that Mike. People can write and say what they want about me, I am just me and pushing no candidates the year.

michael molovinsky said...

for the record, yesterday morning at 4:00AM I sent the following private message to Ray O'Connell For Mayor Facebook page. ray, scott armstrong is claiming that you "supported" the arrangement paying teacher union boss Debbie Tretter with tax money. would you care to respond, as i'm working on a blog post. michael 610 XXX XXXX (message had actual phone number) The message was read at 9:43AM Ray has several page administrators. Who actually read the message and did not pass it along to Ray, I do not know.

I invited Ray to respond today, but he declined. I then decided to print the addendum. I personally do not feel that Scott actually misrepresented O'Connell, or that I misrepresented Scott. The Armstrong/Ramos lawsuit is not new. I have posted about it before. Those who wished to weigh in on the topic had plenty of opportunity.

Dave said...

And another opportunity for Nat Hyman to present his views and again silence

Bob said...

Congrats to Scott Armstrong and Steve Ramos.

I'm aware of a school district in another state paying for the Union rep's salary; it was the only district in the state to do so. After many years a reform coalition won election to the School Board, took the Union to arbitration, and the Union lost that benefit.