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Easton School Board Cuts 102 Jobs

The Easton Area School Board has approved its 2012-2013 budget, which raises taxes and eliminates dozens of positions.

The Easton Area School Board has approved the district's 2012-2013 budget, a $133 million spending plan which eliminates 102 jobs.

The board voted 5-1 Tuesday evening to OK the budget, which is balanced with a combination of those job cuts, a 2.2 percent property tax increase, and $1.5 million in reserve money. 

Michael Simonetta, the district's chief operating officer, said the budget raises Easton's millage rate to 55.4, a 1.7 mill increase.

In layman's terms, this means an average increase of $88 on a tax bill for a property assessed at $75,000. 

The jobs cut by the district range from teachers -- 49 of them in total, including 22 just from the -- to custodians to part-time lunch monitors. (We've attached a PDF listing all the positions).

"It's kind of sad and unfortuate that we're here again," Jena Brodhead, of the teacher's union, told the board before the vote. "It's become a yearly event and we’d hope to see that end."

Last year, the board considered cutting 160 positions, but ultimately backed off making that move when the that saved the district $27 million. In 2010, the district eliminated more than 70 jobs. 

Earlier this month, to reopen their contract, which board members have called "unsustainable."

The teachers have declined to reopen the contract, arguing they gave up money last year with the understanding that it would be enough for the next few years.

The budget passed without much discussion from the board or comment from the public. Board member Robert Moskaitis cast the only vote against it, because he felt it doesn't go far enough.

Easton has a lot of good points, he said, but added:

"There's one thing we're lacking. And that's money. The public deserves a zero percent increase."

Moskaitis said the district was "transferring wealth to the members of the teachers union." 

This was met by cries of "What? What?!" from union members in the audience.

Initial reports of this year's job cuts showed the . That's because part-time positions weren't originally taken into account, Simonetta said.

He said district officials will begin meeting Wednesday to find other ways to cut costs. The job cuts become official on the last day of school. 

Sandra Riley May 23, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Eliminating teachers, no matter how many, always seem to bring on negative responses. My question is: Are these teachers good teachers as far as educating our children? If not, then let them go. We need to return to what worked best, real teaching and learning, not testing. The practice of throwing pep rallies and parties so the students can pass a test, etc. is ridiculous! Our children are suppose to learn. That is the responsibility of the teachers. Grandiose incentives are worthless. The schools have been doing it long enough to know that by now. Let's look at the teachers that will be teaching our children and make sure they are teaching and our children are learning! If not, let them go, too. Let's get teachers in our school who are vested in our children's future, and theirs too for that matter. Teaching was never a money making job, so let's stop making it so. Let's get pure educators.
john May 23, 2012 at 09:04 PM
1st off - teachers need to start picking up part of the cost of their health, health care spending avearges around 7,164 a person in the US, compared to 3,922 in Germany, 265 in China. Health care cost keep rising faster than revenues in business, thus is why many empolyers have started to increase employee contributions for their health care cost. No more free rides for teachers, its 2012, not 1970. 2nd - Stop with the pensions - pensions are a thing of the past - all they do is drain companies and funds. Look at Social Security, it's running out..why?? b/c more and more people are on it (b/c we live longer) and not enough is put into the fund. It's time to be responsible like everyone else and save a portion of your salary for retirment - stop buying big holmes and overspending what you can't really afford to impress people.
john May 23, 2012 at 09:14 PM
It also is a joke that teachers get "vested" after like 7 years or something close to that. Then they don't give a crap and they just drain the system, because they know they are set for life. Teacher union needs to look at it self first, if you don't like losing jobs then restructure they way your benefits are currently setup. Also teachers teach half of the year, what is it 160 or 180 school days that are like 7 hr long days, sure you have some lessons to put together, but after you do that once not a whole lot will change year after year, and you do have test to grade from time to time, but considering you only work half the year and get paid the level you do, with summers off consider that a pretty nice setup while other work year round 40hrs a week. I'm all for giving a good education to the kids, my taxes in BASD - have gone up 5.9% in 2010, 6.7% in 2011 - that's a 12.6% increase in 2 years which is way more than any raises being giving at jobs and then add inflation to that, that's a step increase and you can't keep hitting people via taxes that high year after year.
Carolyn June 28, 2012 at 07:50 PM
School district employees should have to cover part of their healthcare coverage. I have to pay part of the coverage I get from my employer. This is common practice now days. This depends on the contracts each school district negotiates with the various unions they have to deal with. Pensions, however, I believe are set by Pennsylvania state statues. I know the pension is state-wide and encompasses more than just teachers. And that same statue also says that all employees covered by the pension plan must contribute a portion of their paycheck to the pension. It has been that way for decades. In the 1970's the money the teachers had to put into their pension was post-tax dollars. That changed and their current contributions are pre-tax dollars. But that is all that has changed. They still must pay into the pension. It is their continuous input of dollars that is floating the state pension plan for the Harrisburg pols, who get a larger portion of the pie when they retire than the teachers get. But.. that's another debate for another time. Just be aware - the teachers do pay into their pension plan - it's just not a 401(k) or an IRA like the rest of us have and they have no control over their pensions.
louis kootsares July 11, 2012 at 03:46 PM
we do need to eliminate the current school tax system i myself would not mind that there are overpaid over staffed administrations one would believe that with the modern cummunication systems there would be less need of assistant anything and positions created in the last 50 years what looks to me to be products of stacked school boards ex teachers and other boo hoo liberals spending our tax money with wild abandon and a result of huge political campaign contributations by the teachers union the only one being enlightened are these parasites who are draining with their overpriced salaries and benefit packages if they want to get rich get a real job in the real world

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