The Janesville Education Association believes the school district still has plenty of options to fill a $2.1 million budget gap — without teachers making economic concessions. “They absolutely can tax. They still have the tax levy to use, they still have the tax levy to use,” said JEA president Dave Parr. “They have not done that this year. They’ve had it for the past four years, they chose not to use it.” School board president Bill Sodemann said some local taxpayers believe the teachers should share the burden. “Some people think that the benefits and so forth, are out of balance with private sector, not just teachers but administrators as well, and other public employees too, and needs to be corrected, because the private sector has gone through some challenging times, and it shouldn’t just be them that needs to scale back,” said Sodermann.
Parr said the union’s executive board met Monday night and determined there is no advantages to reopen the contract for economic concessions. School board president Bill Sodemann says some local taxpayers believe the teachers should share the burden. “If we would have opened our contract, it would not have stopped layoffs,” said Parr. “We still would have had layoffs. This year the school district actually had a surplus, and they did not restore any jobs. So the fact that they did not restore any jobs even when they had the money tells us they want to get smaller.”
Soderman said board members were disappointed in the union’s decision to “not even sit down and find out all the options . . . and learn about what can be done and have that discussion.” Parr said the teachers did not create the difficulties, but it’s a community problem. He said the JEA wants to be part of the solution, but not the only solution for balancing the budget.
Beth Wheelock, WCLO