The teachers are represented by the Maine Teachers Association.
They have a contract.
The District 207 board wants the MTA to tear the contract up, accept pay freezes and still promises to fire teachers. If the MTA refuses to re-open their contract, the board has threatened to fire more teachers and have identified the positions that will be eliminated.
The district faces a $17 million dollar deficit. That’s in a district of only three high schools. How did they suddenly get into a position where they are $17 million short? This is a question that might be answered by the former superintendent and financial manager for 207 these last years. But both of them suddenly retired. The huge short-fall only came to light after they left.
As part of a total cost reduction plan, the board plans to reduce its teaching staff by 75 full-time positions for the 2010-11 school year to saved about $5 million. It also has told the union that if the MTA agrees to forego its raises this year, about 55 of those jobs could be saved.
In a letter to union president Emma Visee, Supt. Ken Wallace also said that, if an across-the-board freeze were not achieved, each 1% subtracted from the current two-year contract increases would save about 8.5 teaching positions.
The MTA met last Friday to consider what action they may take. The results of that meeting have not been made public.
UPDATE: I’ve heard from MTA members who tell me the membership vote rejected a re-opener.