We have pretty well refrained from writing much in the way of opinions regarding the last 11 months of "negotiations" that have been going on in School District 9. But now that it appears an agreement has been put in writing and is expected to be approved by both sides this week, we would feel remiss in not voicing a few opinions and observations.
We do this knowing it won’t sit well in some quarters, but we believe
having been active in this school district for more than 40 years, and
having done everything from leading the group that tried to prevent
school closure, to chairing a budget committee that met in the old
junior high gym because the crowd was so large, to observing about a
dozen superintendents, our observations and opinions might have a bit
of validity…or at least we think so.
Many reasons for
disagreement and for a strike vote have been offered. And thus we will
offer ours. We believe the problems could be boiled down to two words-
TRUST and RESPECT.
Trust- is reliance on character, ability, truthfulness, dependence, confidence and hope.
Respect-shows consideration, honor, courteousness.
believe these two things have been lacking on both sides (sides- a
word we prefer not to use but unfortunately describes the groups and
their posturing over the last 11 months.)
We believe there
is a level of trust in small town America that cannot be replicated in
even a town the size of Medford. People know one another, they care for
one another and, yes, they may bicker, but when the chips are down in
small town USA, they protect one another. We don’t see much of that in
So many teachers and certainly nearly the
entire administration are daytime visitors to the various D9
communities. Fewer and fewer live where they earn their living. And
that means they don’t really meet and know the people, they don’t chat
in line at the grocery. And, of course, that means they don’t pay taxes
in the community where they work. Nor do they really get to know many
members of the local community. Living in the community adds an extra
layer of accountability.
Small towns are built around trust,
companionship, and taking care of one another. That has been the
backbone of Eagle Point for nearly 100 years.
RESPECT is one that has been used and abused by the union. That was
especially evident at the rally to strike event at Cascade Bingo last
week. Some of the things that were said showed total disrespect, yet it
has been the union placing all the blame of disrespect on
administration. To differ is a right, to malign is not.
using RESPECT as their reason for so much disagreement, there were a
number of other differences and, yes, some of them definitely involved
money; i.e., insurance coverage. Other items that were battled to the
last day actually dealt with three minutes a day or 30 seconds a class
period. Hard to believe? But true.
We believe our
students, staff, administration and community would best be served
through mature negotiations. Above all, the process of this last year
failed to do one thing- it failed, on both sides, to remember the
purpose of the very being of school-the children. The children weren’t
the issue, the issue was all about "me, me, me."
Let’s turn the page and work for the betterment of our future-our children.