School off again today

No talks on day one of principals’ strike
2011-09-08T00:00:00Z 2011-09-13T21:40:14Z School off again todayBy Tim Trainor of The Montana Standard Montana Standard
September 08, 2011 12:00 am  • 

No communication Wednesday between the Butte school district and striking administrators will close schools for a second straight day on Thursday.

That means classes and extracurricular activities, including sports, for the district’s 4,323 students will remain canceled until further notice.

On Tuesday, Teamsters’ Local 2 called for the action after the two sides could not come to an agreement regarding administrator salaries for the 2011-2012 school year.

By 6 a.m. Wednesday, administrators were out with their pickets. Parking lots, usually choked with traffic on weekday mornings as parents and buses drop off students, sat empty.

Keith Miller, union spokesman and East Middle School assistant principal, was outside East carrying a picket and waving at the occasional motorist honking a horn in support.

“Strikes are tough,” he said. “Tough on everybody, tough on us. It’s a last resort.”

Trustees called an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss the strike and the logistics of running a shutdown district.

Superintendent Linda Reksten asked for permission to donate food from the lunch program to area charities before it spoils and to allow select non-union employees into the buildings for maintenance and security issues, both of which were granted.

Trustees also discussed how to respond to requests by administrators to take personal leave Wednesday through Friday, which would allow them to be paid for those days despite the ongoing strike.

The board is looking into legal avenues that would allow them to deny the requests.

Pat Fleming, lawyer and spokesman for the district, said he felt the board made a fair offer to the union and felt confident that an agreement would be reached through mediation. When the union said it was not interested in going down that avenue, he knew a strike was inevitable.

“(Mediation) is the natural course,” said Fleming. “I think they are bypassing a necessary step.”

The next shoe to fall may be in the courts.

An interested party could request an injunction which would probably be filed in Butte district court and could bring both sides together to find a way to lift the strike. The party would have to have legal standing to do so.

Fleming said the district is happy to enter mediation, but would not agree to long-term changes to the salary structure, requested by the union, that they estimated would cost the district $118,000 over the next five years.

“That’s not something we feel we afford to do,” said trustee Rayelynn Connole.

For parents and students, the minutia of accounting arguments is lost in the reality that school is closed, tests postponed and sports teams shuttered.

Butte High senior Cody Carriger, a defensive end on the football team, represented eight Bulldog teammates at the meeting and asked the trustees to do everything in their power so that the team could take the field Friday for their scheduled game against Missoula Hellgate.

“I’m begging you,” he said. “Please let us play.”

 


— Reporter Tim Trainor may be reached via e-mail at tim.trainor@lee.net or call 496-5519. 

Copyright 2015 Montana Standard. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(21) Comments

  1. Realist777
    Report Abuse
    Realist777 - September 09, 2011 4:55 pm
    Truth and Buttie said: "Any parents complaining of lost wages should not be complaining about lost education. You are your child's best teacher. Spend the day furthering their education. All the resources you need are free- either on-line or at the library. "
    This is the best post on here. You are spot-on.
  2. Realist777
    Report Abuse
    Realist777 - September 09, 2011 4:54 pm
    mickey moe said: "the school board locked the administraters out all summer. they then gave them a proposal that was their final offer. Seems like they forced the strike in order to bust the union local. i f they get away with this, the teachers union will be next, followed by the rest of the public employee unions. think about that."
    Well, if that was the school board's plan, it was a beautiful plan. OUT WITH THE UNIONS! ALL OF THEM!

  3. derftsuj
    Report Abuse
    derftsuj - September 08, 2011 9:01 pm
    The economy is in the toilet. I didn't get a raise this year. Why do these clowns feel they are justified in closing down our schools for their own greed?
  4. mickey moe
    Report Abuse
    mickey moe - September 08, 2011 7:25 pm
    the school board locked the administraters out all summer. they then gave them a proposal that was their final offer. Seems like they forced the strike in order to bust the union local. i f they get away with this, the teachers union will be next, followed by the rest of the public employee unions. think about that.
  5. Retired too
    Report Abuse
    Retired too - September 08, 2011 1:20 pm
    The Teamsters are showing an indifference to today's world... Our economy is in the tank and they are demanding more, more, yet more. Many of us haven't seen salary rises in years, others are out of jobs completely! How arrogant for these men and women to flaunt their arrogance at the people of Butte. There is a time and place for collective bargaining; not is not it! With all the economic stress today, why are these folks -- a number with salaries far above the Butte median salary -- feel they should ask for yet more? Working parents should deposit this school-age children at the Teamster's Union Hall and demand they take care of them. Either that, or the teacher's union should recognize that their actions are exacerbating the issue and get back to teaching irrespective of the Teamsters!
  6. toddyboy
    Report Abuse
    toddyboy - September 08, 2011 1:03 pm
    Well since this seems to be about money and daycare costs pay them daycare wages. $7.25 per hr./per student/ x 6.5 hrs x 180 days. Do the math with Butte High alone at 1439 students. What does that come to? Or since you are anxious to get your kids back to be educated (or for some of you-daycare-you said it I didn't) pay them what they are asking for and get on with it.
  7. Truth and Buttie
    Report Abuse
    Truth and Buttie - September 08, 2011 12:37 pm
    Any parents complaining of lost wages should not be complaining about lost education. You are your child's best teacher. Spend the day furthering their education. All the resources you need are free- either on-line or at the library.
  8. dancergirl
    Report Abuse
    dancergirl - September 08, 2011 12:03 pm
    I say fire them all and hire people that actually want to work. Anyone who makes that kind of money in Butte should be thankful, not striking. Parents and children should make their own signs saying "get the kids back in school" and stand right next to the administrators! There are a lot of very upset people in this town. I wonder what this strike will do to their precious enrollment numbers?
  9. bridger2000
    Report Abuse
    bridger2000 - September 08, 2011 11:13 am
    Okay so my original post was not posted so I will try this again. I say fire them all!!! They only work 9 months out of the year and VP's are making 90,000 and they want more!! I think we need to stand up and say no!!! Times are tough and we can find better people out there they actually want to work. I am so tired of this!!! As far as the truck drivers in the post from newfan--they actually work and work 12 months out of the year!!! Great posts bmb527 and mommy to 3--we need more of you on here--where is everyone--only 11 posts on this very important subject. The Standard is reviewing the posts before they are actually posted so I think there are more posts that should be up here but they are only allowing what they want--give me a break.
  10. bridger2000
    Report Abuse
    bridger2000 - September 08, 2011 11:02 am
    I say just fire them all!!!!! Honestly, when I look at their wages and look at how many people do not have jobs, it just makes me sick. Gosh look what you are doing to the kids. I totally agree with you bmb527!!!! We the tax payers are paying your wages and we say NO!!!! This is where it needs to stop and I think we have to take a stand once and for all. They all sound like cry babies to me--give me a break--vice principals make almost 90,000 and they want MORE!!! and they only work 9 months out of the year!!!!!! post newsfan--those truck drivers actually work for their money and they work all year long!!!!!!!!! Great post mommy to 3!!! Gosh there is only 11 comments--where is everyone
  11. Mommy to 3
    Report Abuse
    Mommy to 3 - September 08, 2011 10:31 am
    After they suffer their way through to a raise, they are going to have to deal with all the parents who have not had their children tested in a timely manner (illegal), who have had to sacrifice grocery money to find extra child care for the missed school days, and whose children are that much more behind thanks to their selfishness, and please don't forget the seniors who are depending on athletics for scholarships and who are going to be forfeting games this week. Times are hard for everyone right now. It is not the right time for this. It is especially not going to be the right time for this when I seek counsel for the non-existant IEP that was approved last year. Not only did 2 of the POOR and ABUSED principals drop the ball but I also have a copy of direct communication with the superintendant of schools regarding the matter. You know, documentation is golden. I hope that this poor excuse of an "education" system gets the wake up call that is so deserves. There are not even words to express my disapproval with the way in which this system is ran. I hope that they stand their ground, take out the trash and hire people that actually care about the kids that are being hurt by this.
  12. kickstart13
    Report Abuse
    kickstart13 - September 08, 2011 9:19 am
    This says it all:
    "Pat Fleming, lawyer and spokesman for the district, said he felt the board made a fair offer to the union and felt confident that an agreement would be reached through mediation. When the union said it was not interested in going down that avenue, he knew a strike was inevitable."

    In other words, we are just going to go on strike anyway. We'll show you. Now the district has to give/throw away purchased food, etc. Is the union going to pay for this? Nope the burden coninues to fall on the tax payers. Let them stand there with their pickets until hell freezes over.



  13. Mommy2Many
    Report Abuse
    Mommy2Many - September 08, 2011 8:45 am
    I believe that having the schools shut down over a 1% increase in pay is not the very best decision that could have been made. Montana pays less for Administrators and Teachers then the national average is. All they are asking for is equal rights and an equal pay raise. I personally think that supporting them and making sure that our educators are paid well and want to teach our future is a good thing. Do I want my children in school? Oh yes!!!! Do I blame the administrators for this mess? No. The board should have been on top of this situation all summer.
  14. soccermom
    Report Abuse
    soccermom - September 08, 2011 8:26 am
    tarfu said: "So, the biggest impact on the students is that they can't play sports.School is about education not who can score TD's."

    Unfortunately, if this is resolved today, it will not be as a result of EDUCATION. It will be the result of the Butte Athletic Council threatening Metz and Chuckie. The priorities of the District are scewed!

  15. soccermom
    Report Abuse
    soccermom - September 08, 2011 8:23 am
    newsfan said: "Amid all the right wing rhetoric in these comments, let's try to remember that truck drivers at Montana Resources made more last year than any principal on that list."

    Good Lord - RIGHT WING RHETORIC? Dont make me laugh. This is not about politics, this is pure greed and stupidity!

    I believe your facts to be wrong about the truck drivers wages being more than any of these slackers, but if that is the case it is because these truck drivers work a full 2080 hours per year!

    How ironic for you to state this opinion. The high and mighty Teamsters failing to represent ACTUAL TRUCK DRIVERS who you claim make more money!

  16. DrivebyGravy
    Report Abuse
    DrivebyGravy - September 08, 2011 8:00 am
    No wonder new business avoids Butte. Ain't got no new jobs.
  17. thommik1
    Report Abuse
    thommik1 - September 08, 2011 7:29 am
    I re-read the article and am even more flabergasted -- asking for personal leave so you'll get paid for the time you're picketing your employer. And the quote, "Tough on everybody, tough on us" -- won't be if the requested leave is granted. By definition a strike is a work stoppage caused by the refusal of employees to perform work. Definition of 'work' - a worker sells their labor and the employer buys it. If there's no work there should be no pay, regardless of the leave one might have available to them.
  18. newsfan
    Report Abuse
    newsfan - September 08, 2011 7:18 am
    Amid all the right wing rhetoric in these comments, let's try to remember that truck drivers at Montana Resources made more last year than any principal on that list.
  19. xebian
    Report Abuse
    xebian - September 08, 2011 6:38 am
    This is different. I didn't think the administrators could be in a union. I thought the administrators were why there are unions. Let's think about this here. Do the teachers and custodians really need the principals and superintendents to do their job? I remember being in school and the people on strike didn't really do much more than make life difficult for everybody. I say go to school without them. Not that that would ever happen, and for me to cross anybody's picket line would prove the whole universe didn't exist in the first place and was just a figment of my imagination.

    Huh, what an oddly strange quandary this is. I just cant get my head around it. I usually have an answer for everything that satisfies me at least. I got no.
  20. tarfu
    Report Abuse
    tarfu - September 08, 2011 6:07 am
    So, the biggest impact on the students is that they can't play sports.

    School is about education not who can score TD's.

  21. bmb527
    Report Abuse
    bmb527 - September 08, 2011 4:37 am
    In this day and age of a failing economy, businesses closing at an unprecedented rate, hard working people losing their homes and a list of other problems a mile long facing our nations citizens, I am disgusted by the selfish attitudes of the school administrators feeling that they need to strike. You all make a more than fair wage for living in Butte. It is not that expensive a place to live. In your selfish actions YOU are depriving the children of Butte the education they desperately need to thrive in the world. When you get your way and it costs the district more money, guess who pays for it...THE KIDS! The place they cut back is in classes offered and class size. I am a union member and your actions make me embarrassed to say so. Why don't you think about where you live vs. how much you need to make. You have a obligation to us and the kids and you are not fulfilling your part. Frankly, you disgust me.

Civil Dialogue

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Name-calling, crude language and personal abuse are not welcome. Moderators will monitor comments with an eye toward maintaining a high level of civility in this forum. Our comment policy explains the rules of the road for registered commenters. If you receive an error after submitting a comment, please contact us at editor@mtstandard.com.

If your comment was removed or isn't appearing online, perhaps:

  1. You called someone an idiot, a racist, a dope, a moron, etc. Please, no name-calling or profanity (or veiled profanity -- #$%^&*).
  2. You rambled, failed to stay on topic or exhibited troll-like behavior intended to hijack the discussion at hand.
  3. YOU SHOUTED YOUR COMMENT IN ALL CAPS. This is hard to read and annoys readers.
  4. You have issues with a business. Have a bad meal? Feel you were overcharged at the store? New car is a lemon? Contact the business directly with your customer service concerns.
  5. You included an e-mail address or phone number, pretended to be someone you aren't or offered a comment that makes no sense.
  6. You accused someone of a crime or assigned guilt or punishment to someone suspected of a crime.
  7. Your comment is in really poor taste.
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Follow the Montana Standard

Montana Videos

Swordfish attacks and kills man in Hawaii

The fishing boat captain was killed after he speared the swordfish. As the fish tried to escape, it got cau…

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Rob Chaney presents the latest news you need to know about today's headl…

Great Butte Businesses

Vote now! Question of the Week

Loading…

Do you favor Butte-Silver Bow’s proposal to expand angled parking, add bike lanes and remove up to 10 traffic signals Uptown?

View Results