Questions for consideration:

1) Who in our community received a 30 percent increase in wages recently?

This year the MVSD board of trustees raised the requested levy amount from 3 million to 3.9 million, an increase 30 percent.

2) Was the “no” message understood?

On June 2nd, voters failed the requested operating levy: 1,440 to 2,557. This was not a close vote, but an overwhelming voter declaration.

3) When you calculate wage per day, is it a fair salary? 

On social media and in negotiations, teacher union representatives content teacher wages/benefits are not equitable. Teachers are contracted to work 188 days a year. Most salaries are 250 workday-based, a difference of 12 weeks.

4) How many working people within our community enjoy full health insurance benefit? If I cannot afford this benefit for my own family, should I be bound by a levy to pay for those benefits for my neighbor?

MVSD employee benefits include full payment of health insurance premiums for the employee and over half the premium for their family members; including vision and dental. Already, teacher benefits exceed benefits received by the majority of our community, yet the union pushes for more.

5) What percentage of the levy is spent towards wages and benefits?

The MVSD 2018-19 Proposed Revised budget was 13.2M, with 10.5M in teacher wages and benefits (80 percent of the budget). If this budget model holds true, 80 percent of a proposed levy would go toward wages and benefits. I recognize good schools require good teachers, but I feel “snookered” when emotion-charged arguments of “no sports or outdated textbooks” are presented as the primary reasons to pass the levy.

The board of trustees may re-run the levy. As a voter, I feel frustrated and dismissed. I have metaphorically drawn a line in the sand and said, “No!”

I support the education of children. Our children are our future. My frustration is not with the teachers, but with union leadership. Teachers do a vitally important and difficult work, but the ultimatums from the union to our district are too much to be borne by our community. I am unwilling to support any levy amount until those demands are checked.

Helen Smith

Grangeville

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