By Ulysses Arn -
DIXON - Wednesday night, the Dixon school board unanimously approved a new contract with the Dixon Education Association(DEA) after a nine day teachers strike that ended one week ago. The DEA ratified the new contract Tuesday, giving the public 24 hours to review the union's new contract before the school board voted on it. This lack of time to analysis the details of the new contract are important because at last night's school board meeting the board agreed to a new teachers union contract that adds to the Dixon school district's deficit, which is already over a million dollars for this fiscal year.
At a public meeting on March 10, Dixon schools' superintendent Michael Juenger laid out the district's finances, including its declining property tax revenue, decreases in state aid and the loss of some funds due to sequestration. "If the contract that is currently being proposed is accepted...salaries for the entire district would go up about $447,000." Juenger said.
The contract terms being proposed at that time had the Dixon teachers receiving a 2 percent raise each year over the life of the 4 year contract plus step increases. The contract signed Wednesday night gave Dixon teachers a 2 percent raise over the first three years of the contract and a 1 percent increase in the final year in addition to step increases.
As elected officials charged with being responsible with the taxpayers of Dixon's money, the Dixon school board is being fiscally irresponsible by agreeing to a contract that would guarantee the districts deficit would increase to nearly $2 million dollars.
At that public meeting superintendent Juenger also talked about the districts finances going forward and in particular what would happen for fiscal year 2014. Juenger would say, "If we added on the salaries being asked for next year, add on the special education staffing, add on teachers assistance, technology, our estimated expenses, additional expenses would be about a million dollars. What that would do is take the estimated expenses to $22 million...and you get an estimated deficit of $4 million."
The parents and taxpayers of Dixon are going to be in for some hard times in the coming years. All because their teachers union demanded a new contract that is out of line with what the district can afford. And what's worse, their duly elected school board members willfully agreed to it. Shameful.