School District Still Biggest Drag on Atlantic City Financial Turnaround

Atlantic City, with the un-welcomed but necessary assist from Trenton, can cut positions & salaries til the cows come home. But to achieve a lasting AC financial turnaround, the School District of Atlantic City needs to pitch in. They need to stop demanding unworkable compensation. That’s the growing public sentiment.

Online comments & flame wars took ex-attorney / teacher / activist / surfer dude Tom Forkin to task recently. Commentor Nate Matson says: teachers (like Forkin ) have not taken any pay cuts recently. That’s why past layoffs were needed. That’s not enough.

Forkin regularly foams at the mouth over state oversight, but avoids discussion of nasty costs per student and sad graduation rates in AC.

Atlantic City teachers are close to a new contract and might actually get a RAISE.

The local school board and the Atlantic City Education Association have reached a tentative agreement for a new contract, the  confirmed Wednesday.

Teachers Union president Marcia Genova, from Ventnor NJ,  reports that a ratification vote is scheduled for Feb. 15. Genova, who’s never taught a class, says she can’t discuss contract details until it’s been ratified. If the school union approve the agreement, the school board could then vote on it, on Feb. 21.

A major sticking point: Genova and the union have sued the taxpayers of Atlantic City. They’re still demanding those expensive ‘opt-out checks’. These are ‘boat check’ like payments given to those who waive the school district health plan.

Healthcare opt-out payments cost Atlantic City taxpayers $5 million a year. For those declining a family health plan, that’s a hefty $20,000 payout per employee.

Teacher downsizing. There’s still 730 teachers in AC. And let’s not forget the 300 pensionable support staff like custodians, security guard and secretaries. Note:  60 AC Police Officers and 25 firefighters were laid off in 2010. During that period, Atlantic City borrowed 80 million to build two new schools.

Let’s talk health benefits. Even in this horrible economic environment, members of the teachers union have a much BETTER plan than those who are put in harms ways each day: our brave AC police and firefighters.

News & Info from Atlantic City

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