Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Bargaining Update

Your bargaining team met last night to begin preparing for continued negotiations. MAKE NO MISTAKE, it is our opinion that the Board’s declaration of impasse is illegal, and we intend to continue to bring a full set of proposals to the bargaining table that include salary and insurance. Bargaining will continue.

Our team reviewed the dates provided by the board, and are requesting to meet for the purpose of negotiations on December 12 and 14.

Additionally, the team will be bringing a recommendation on November 29, to the HEA Executive Board relative to insurance benefit levels beginning in January.

We are still committed to our goal of a fair contract that reflects your worth and the district’s ability to pay.

Feel free to direct any questions you may have to Charles or Rick and look for future updates from your Bargaining team and Crisis Committee.

Friday, November 11, 2005


The Holland School Board’s and the Holland Public Schools Central
Administration’s actions to illegally impose changes in the contract
with Holland Education Association demonstrates the ultimate disrespect
for Holland teachers. This action is in violation of the school
board’s legal responsibility to bargain in good faith with Holland
Education Association. Our elected school board members and the
district’s central administration have not provided the leadership
needed to meet future challenges facing our district. Based on these
facts I move the following motion:

“The membership of the Holland Education Association has NO CONFIDENCE
in the Holland Board of Education and the Holland Public School’s
Central Administration. Our elected leaders and central administration
are no longer able to provide the leadership necessary to enable
teachers in the Holland Public School district to meet the future needs
of the children of Holland Public Schools. The school board’s and
central administration’s actions have breached the long standing bond
of trust between teachers, the school board and the district’s

Teachers will remain on the job despite illegal contract imposition

Holland teachers announced they will be in their classrooms and not on
the picket line despite the Holland school board’s illegal imposition
of a contract Thursday morning.

“We value this community and the future we all share. We heard the
community’s wishes. Therefore, we will not strike at this time. We only
wish the board had the interest of the community in mind as well. We
hope the community will continue to support us by telling the board to
stop this imposition,” said Charles Bullard, Holland Education
Association president.

“We believe our “Contract with the Community”, which the Board is
ignoring, is the way to a healthy future for the Holland Public
Schools.” Bullard added.

Despite continued bargaining sessions with a mediator, the school board
and its attorney, Barb Ruga, declared that negotiations were at an
impasse and illegally imposed a new contract on the teachers. The
terms of the new contract will take effect January 1, 2006.

Bullard said, “We were not at impasse. We presented a proposal and
after the district and their attorney reviewed it for less than thirty
minutes, they declared us to be at impasse. We are still willing to
bargain! We believe the board still has an obligation to bargain a new
contract with us and we will continue to demand the opportunity to
bargain and work out any and all outstanding issues.”

Under the newly imposed agreement, teachers will lose money in salary
and their benefits will be reduced. HEA’s last proposal offered the
administration an “out” from the insurance business that would allow
teachers to purchase their own insurance. The proposal was rejected by
the board.

“The target kept moving,” said Bullard. The board said they needed
cost-containment on insurance and we offered that, but it wasn’t
enough. The action of the board proved that their position was
preordained. The board would prefer confrontation and illegal
strong-arm tactics, which is in sharp contrast to the HEA and the
community’s desire for us to bargain a fair and equitable settlement.”

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Important Bargaining Update

Keeping You Informed 11/9/05
Tonight, the HEA presented a bold new proposal that not only hit the target expectations from the board as it relates to future insurance increases, it exceeded them. Unfortunately, tonight's bargaining session ended prematurely with the Board's attorney declaring impasse after 30 minutes of reviewing our proposal. The board's quick rejection of a very comprehensive and complex proposal that was structured to meet their criteria indicates that tonight's results were preordained.

After insisting that members must make a "fair and reasonable contribution" to their health care benefits, our proposal went beyond that. We proposed that you pay for ALL of your insurance by taking the current cost of insurance and putting it on the salary schedule.

The board said we had to live within the 3-year financial projection. Our proposal did that! To hold the board to that projection, we proposed any extra dollars above the projection be shared with the teachers. At a previous bargaining session, the board's attorney said they would much rather put money on salary schedule and pay FICA and retirement instead of putting it towards insurance. HEA structured the proposal to reflect the board's demand.

The board wants the insurance cost contained by having a 5% cap on future increases. Our proposal included the 5% cap on future increases.

It is truly our belief that this creative and outside the box new proposal addressed all significant needs expressed by the board.

We are expecting the board to impose their October 26th Final Economic Proposal at their November 10 special board meeting at Washington School. This meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. We encourage all of you to attend this meeting.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Financial Information

HEA Salary Concessions since 2004

HEA insurance concessions since 2004

4.6% of operating expenses
Amount of
DECREASE of teachers’ salaries from 2000 to 2004

3.23% of operating expenses
Amount of
DECREASE of teachers’ salaries and insurance costs from 2000 to 2004

Difference between the school district’s November 2004 & October 2005 budget projections with the budgeting error included.

Central Office Administrators
Holland Public Average


County/ISD Average
$85, 208

Holland Public Administrators
$5,877 or 6.5% over the County/ISD average

Building Principals and Athletic Directors
Holland Public Average


County/ISD Average

Holland Public Principals
$5,728 or 7% over the County/ISD

Beginning Teachers
Holland Public


County Average

Holland Public Beginning Teacher
$2,084 or 6.3% below the County average

Veteran Teachers with MA Degree
Holland Public


County Average

Holland Public Veteran Teacher
$5,010 or 7.9% below County Average

Friday, October 28, 2005

Welcome to the HEA Blog!

This blog is the internet information source for the HEA. The HEA is currently in a crisis situation in regard to their current contract negotiation. The HEA crisis committee will post updates at this blog frequently.

If you need to contact the HEA, please check the link that says "view my complete profile."

Please support Holland teachers!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Bargaining Update-October 27, 2005

HEA Bargaining Update


Administrators? School board members? Telephone calls and e-mails must have had a strong impact. The very first thing the school board did at tonight's bargaining session was to withdraw their outrageous proposal on class size, prep time, length of day, etc. We are back to current language on that entire contract article. Thank you to all that sent such a powerful message to the board. IT WORKED!

The disappointing part of the evening occurred shortly after that. Bargaining team members from both sides met in small groups to review financial information. The board once again confirmed its entrenched position that an agreement must include a downgrade in the health plan with a cap. Oh, we forgot to tell you last night they increased the amount the board is willing to pay by slightly over $3.00. Yes, you read that right, three dollars! Also their proposal includes a higher drug card. That was their response to our movement of over $1,000.00 per member per year. Go figure.

New tonight, in the traditional Barb Ruga style that she made famous in Kentwood and Kenowa Hills, she regressed in her health care proposal. Now her health care proposal states that when a member retires or resigns their health benefits expire at the end of the month not at the end of September as the contract provides for now.

The school board titled their salary and benefit proposal as their "Final Economic Proposal." However, the board did agree to two additional mediation sessions. Those bargaining sessions are scheduled for 11/2/05 at 5:30 PM and 11/9/05 at 4:30 PM.

Please remember and attend the HEA General Membership meeting scheduled for Tuesday November 1, 2005 at 5:00 PM in the HS auditorium.

Thank you for your continued support.

In unity there's strength.

Your Bargaining Team

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Bargaining Update-October 26, 2005

The bargaining teams from both side met tonight in full table bargaining. Your HEA bargaining team made their offical proposal that included moving to fully paid MESSA Choices II. The Board team's response occured within 30 minutes by rejecting our offer and countering with a twenty-page document that included a cap on insurance as well as a freesze on salary and 1/2 steps.

The board also presented a new regressive proposal that guts the current contract language on class size, prep time, length of the school day, overload pay and calendar. This proposal would increase class size as much as five students per class at some grade levels and overload pay would be based on groups of students instead of a per student calculation.

Your bargaining team was outraged by the board's new proposal because we were lead to believe at our last mediation session that with our new proposal we would be close to the target needed to reach an agreement. Tonight that target moved again.

We do have another mediation sesssion scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, 10/27/05 at 4:30 P.M.

We will provide another bargaining update by e-mail at the conclusion of tomorrow's session. An HEA general membership meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 1, 2005 at 5:00 P.M. in the HS auditorum (tentative location).

In unity there's strength.

Your Bargaining Team

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Holland Education Association Bargaining Announcement

Good afternoon and thank you for coming, my name is Rick Slachta and I’m here today as a representative of Holland teachers and the Holland Education Association. I have a brief prepared statement and then I will be happy to take your questions.

No one can believe that the recent public debate over the negotiations between the Holland teachers and the Holland school board has been healthy for our community and our community’s future.

Holland teachers have said repeatedly that we would have preferred that the Board use the bargaining process it employed successfully for over a decade to resolve our differences. That process kept bargaining at the bargaining table and out of the public forum. Unfortunately, that has not happened.

As a result of this public forum we have talked with and listened to a broad cross section of the Holland community over the past several weeks. From those discussions we have concluded that if our community and our school system are going to continue to survive and thrive, important and profound changes are called for.

The Board’s repeated public announcements about their bargaining positions have prompted the community to request information from teachers, asking how the bargaining conflict can be resolved. Specifically, the question has been how we, as a community, can address the challenges facing Holland Public Schools.

The community has spoken and we have listened.

Holland teachers believe now is the time to provide leadership and address the communities concerns. The Holland community and Holland teachers share a common concern about the future of Holland Public Schools. That is why we are proposing a broad based public initiative we believe will both take the future of Holland Public Schools in a positive direction and resolve our bargaining crisis.

But we do not believe it can stop there. We all recognize the financial challenges facing Holland Public Schools. To meet those challenges we are asking the school board to join us in an action plan to take control of our shared future.

We agree with statements made at the last school board meeting by school board member Kevin Clark when he stated we must work on the variables that are within our control. We believe that we must begin to do that now!

The Holland Public School teachers asks the Holland Board of Education to enter with us into a “Contract With Our Community” to restore the bonds of trust between the community and the Holland School District and work together to gain control of our shared futures. The contract will provide a detailed agenda to move our school district and our community forward:

First, within the next 60 days a community task force is formed with participation from parents, educators, business leaders and local media to address retention of Holland students in the Holland Public Schools. Together we can reverse this downward spiral of student enrollment. This is variable that we control.

Second, bring together community members, business leaders, educators and local media to coordinate efforts to bring Holland tax dollars to Holland Public Schools through a county wide millage enhancement. Currently this is the only means to generate new revenues for Holland Public Schools. This is a variable that we control.

Third, the School Board and teachers will seek and will act on input from the community regarding strengthening our community school models. This is a variable that we control.

Fourth, the community, local media, the school board and Holland teachers will jointly lobby our area legislators to provide legislation that will adequately fund Holland Public Schools. Input into our democratic process is a variable that we control.

To fulfill our “Contract With Our Community” both the School Board and the Holland teachers must be freed from the energy sapping storm of confrontational bargaining. We must get beyond the bargaining and have a settled contract, not an imposed contract.

Unfortunately, the school board still seems determined to illegally impose or force contract changes on Holland teachers at tomorrow’s bargaining session. The board plans to do this without reaching a mutual agreement. That action will not provide a resolution of the current dispute either for the teachers or for the community. The bargaining will not stop, litigation will begin and the divisions within our community will continue. The education of our children will suffer, our community and businesses will suffer and our public school system will begin to come apart at the seams. That is just too high a price to pay!

To avoid that path of certain destruction and to enable our “Contract With Our Community” to be successful the teachers’ bargaining team will present a proposal to resolve the ongoing bargaining conflict. Holland teachers will drop our demand to maintain the current traditional health insurance plan and will propose a significant change by moving to a new less costly PPO health insurance plan. The Holland teachers would become only the second teacher group in Ottawa County to shift to a PPO. This change represents nearly $1,000.00 per teacher per year in give backs to the Holland Public Schools and calculates to almost a million dollars in savings over the next three years.

We hope the school board will also examine their current position and agree to meet us at this middle ground in order to resolve this conflict.

With labor peace and our shared vision of a thriving high quality Holland School District this “Contract With Our Community” will bring together four powerful forces needed to meet our future challenges: community members and business leaders, the Holland Board of Education, Holland teachers and the Holland media. We urge the Holland Board of Education to join us in this initiative. In our unity lies our strength.
Thank you.

News Release

October 24, 2005

Subject: Press Conference

CONTACT: Marty Lankford, MEA Uniserv Director

Holland Teachers to Announce a Major Bargaining Initiative

Holland teachers will announce a bold new contract initiative at a press conference scheduled for Tuesday, October 25, 2005. “We are determined to bargain a resolution with the Holland Board of Education. Our new initiative will provide the path to ensure a good faith agreement can be reached at this Wednesday’s mediation session,” stated HEA President Charles Bullard.

The press conference is scheduled for:

Tuesday, October 25, 2005
5:10 PM
Holland City Hall (front steps)
270 South River Ave.
Holland, MI

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Holland Public Fast Facts #7

School District’s projected “budget deficit” based on the District’s November 17, 2004, 3 year financial plan given to Holland teachers.

School District’s projected “budget surplus” based on the District’s October 10, 2005, 3 year financial plan. This projection is based on the same salary and benefits used in the November 2004 projection.

2004-2005 budgeting ERROR admitted by the district.

Difference between the school district’s November 2004 and October 2005 budget projections with the budgeting error included.

How can two projections just 11 months apart, based on the same factors have a difference over $2,400,000?

The school district’s future projections just don’t carry any credibility.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

HEA Bargaining Update - October 11, 2005

“Keeping You Informed”

Mediation began at 4:00 p.m. yesterday. The negotiation session lasted until about 11:30 p.m. Here is a brief synopsis of what occurred.

Discussions were held in small groups. There was no full table bargaining.

Our team was given another spreadsheet projection of the district’s financial projections for this year and the future. This makes 3 different projections in the last 3 rounds of bargaining.

We resurrected a “Three Year Financial Planning Document” given to us during the last round of negotiations on November 17, 2004. Just 11 months ago, the district’s projected reality for THIS YEAR proves to be $1.5 million in error (on the side of gloom and doom, of course).

There appears to be quite a ways to go before an agreement can be reached.

We have our next negotiation session with the mediator on October 26th at 4:30 p.m.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Holland Public Fast Facts #6

How much have Holland teachers contributed to preserve the financial stability of Holland Public Schools?

Consider these facts:
  • Holland teacher`s have agreed to a salary schedule freeze for the last three years.
  • $3,600,000 is the total savings realized by the school district from these concessions.
  • Holland teachers have agreed to insurance concessions over the last few years.
  • $1, 005,000 is the total savings realized by the school district from these concessions.




When it comes to making tough decisions for Holland Public Schools, Holland teachers do their part!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

HEA President Seeks Legal Opinion

After three successive Fridays of threatening e-mails delivered from the school district to teachers in their classroom, Holland Education Association President Charles Bullard requested a legal opinion from MEA general counsel Art Przyblowicz. That opinion was delivered to the school board at this Monday’s school board meeting by Van Raalte elementary teacher Ethel Barendse.

In Mr. Przybylowicz’s response he stated the following: “It is my further understanding that your members have been greatly disturbed by these aggressive and coercive messages while they fulfill their professional responsibilities. This disruption to the educational process flows from the Board’s continuing coercive and threatening remarks, as the teachers continue to perform their valuable services to the community in the face of threats they will be fired and lose their pay and benefits and dispite continued claims by representatives of the Board that the Board will impose a contract.”

Mr. Przybylowicz further stated, “Perhaps if the Board were more attentive to its own behavior and legal position in bargaining and less concerned with consistently threatening your members, more would be done to solve the differences between the parties.

The HEA should request that the District immediately cease and desist from threatening, intimidating and coercing teachers. Please be assured that MEA Legal Services will continue to assist your members to ensure that the Holland Board of Education ceases its improper conduct and immediately begins to negotiate in good faith.”

Charles Bullard stated after the school board meeting that Holland Education Association has amended its charges that the Holland School Board has violated the Public Employment Relations Act (“PERA”).

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Dear Members,

I am sure that you were as dismayed as we were this past Friday after receiving another “Friday Threat Letter”.

The most recent letter states that the Board is "committed to ensuring that our children learn". Apparently disrupting the learning process on a Friday afternoon is, in their mind, a good thing for our students and their education. Then they go on to threaten to fire the teachers that have helped our students achieve AYP in every building.

Such action is extremely disappointing since both sides agreed that last Wednesday’s bargaining session showed promise with the beginning of mediation and more October bargaining dates set. Considering the spirit of cooperation implied by Wednesday's result, we can't explain why the Board feels this harassment is necessary.

The HEA is filing a grievance on behalf of all HEA members against the Board for interfering with the educational process. At a meeting last night MEA legal counsel was advised of the situation. Their preliminary opinion was that this pattern of threats likely violates our contract as well as PERA. They will be amending our unfair labor practice complaint against the District today. Their official opinion will be delivered to the Board at tonight’s Special Board Meeting.

At tonight’s meeting a representative group of HEA members will be present to show support and monitor the Board’s actions. Members will also be making public comments. If you would like to attend please feel free. The meeting begins at 5:30pm at the East Middle School Cafeteria. Following the meeting the HEA phone tree will be activated to summarize any action by the Board.

Please remember that the scare tactics being employed by the Board and administration are to be expected as part of their attempt to divide and demoralize our ranks. Instead we should continue to be professionals in our classrooms and support each other through this difficult period.

Thanks for your continued support,

Jon Toppen, Chief Negotiator
Rick Slachta, Crisis Team Chairperson

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Important Informational Meeting

A big thanks goes out AGAIN to all of the members that came out to support the team last night. It must have been very encouraging for our team, as they came away with another bargaining date with the other team. That was our goal: KEEP BOTH SIDES TALKING! Well done, everyone!

What's next? We will have a General Membership Meeting tomorrow morning (9/30) from 7:00 - 7:30 am in the Holland High School Auditorium. It will be a quick but important bargaining update and a look at what our work will be in the days ahead. If that leaves you with a big timeframe before your school day begins, go out to breakfast with fellow members to discuss issues or just to celebrate!

Tonight we will run the phone tree once again, beginning at 9:00pm. We need everyone's help in closing the remaining gaps in this very important communications system. Please remember the general phonetree guidelines:

1. Have a copy of your phone tree at home and handy.

2. When you receive your call, write the message down to insure accuracy.

3. Call the next person on the list and relay the very same message. If you should reach an answering machine, leave the message on the machine and call the next person on the list to keep the tree going. If you get no answer and no machine, again, skip to the next person on the list. Don't stop until you've relayed the message to another live member.

4. Please do NOT leave messages with spouses, children or anyone else besides the member his-/herself. We cannot/should not rely on anyone other than members to transmit the message.

5. The last person on the list has the responsibility to call the AR that started your branch of the tree in order to confirm transmission of the message throughout the list.

Another request: AS you hear about them (like this email for example), please talk about these and all other HEA events with your fellow members in your buildings ("Did you hear about the meeting tomorrow?"). We apparently have some gaps in this email system as well and would like to reslove them. If you can identify someone that is NOT recieving these GroupWise notices, please contact me.

MENTORS: Please bring your mentees along on this HEA business. I hope that you can be there to help them understand their membership responsibilities (attending meetings, for starters). If you should have any questions about the mentor's role in the context of HEA business, please let me know.

Thank you ahead of time for your cooperation and participation in phone trees, attending meeting outside the school day, etc.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Message From HEA President Charles Bullard

It is not the desire of the Holland Education Association to ask teachers to withhold services from the children of Holland Public Schools. The teachers are determined to continue bargaining in good faith to reach a fair settlement however: an illegal imposition of a contract by the Holland Board of Education will require the HEA to explore all its options.


  • The Holland School Board imposed Focus Schools on the community without seeking parental input.
  • Now the Holland School Board is planning to illegally impose a contract on the Holland Public School teachers.
  • Should the Holland School Board impose its will again the teachers will be forced to take a strike vote.

Don’t let this happen again. Call your school board members and tell them to bargain with the teachers in good faith.

Steve Grose (President) 393-4912
Kevin Clark 335-3222

Doug Kamphuis 396-9666
Susan DeJong 335-9454

Larry Gavette 494-9919
David Laman 396-2656

Jack Gisinger 335-3969

If you have questions please call 355-1936.

Holland Education Crisis News

For the next two weeks we will be involved in some important activities. Your attendance and participation is critical. Please find below a list of important dates to put on your calendar.

Coffee Klatch Meeting
September 26 4:00 pm

The “Coffee Klatch” training is designed to give us the skills to dialogue with community members. Coffee Klatches have been proven to be the most effective means of communicating to our community. The way we deliver our message will determine the level of support we can garner within the Holland community. RSVP to your Building AR by Thursday, September 22
Location: HEA Crisis Center - 788 Columbia

General Membership Meeting
September 27 7:00 pm

Your attendance at this meeting is IMPORTANT! We will have MEA’s attorney, MEA staff, and a MESSA representative at this meeting to answer your questions. We will give you the latest on where HEA is in the bargaining process and what to expect next.
Location: Holland High Auditorium

Washington School Rally
September 28 5:30 pm

We are planning a big “send off” to our bargaining team. This rally will take place before the last bargaining session of the month. Surrounding area locals have been invited to help. Please show your support!
Location: Washington Administration Building

General Membership Meeting
September 29 6:00 a.m.

Very Important!!!
Location: TBD

Please plan to attend!!

For Immediate Release

September 22, 2005

Holland Community leaders from all walks of life were interviewed by a Crisis Assistance team of the Michigan Education Association (MEA) on Wednesday. The Holland teacher crisis was the subject of the survey.

“This is Phase One of our community outreach program,” said Martin Lankford, MEA Crisis Coordinator. “The Board imposed Focus Schools on the community. Now we believe they intend to impose a contract on the teachers.”

The Crisis Assistance team includes twelve field staff from MEA, a representative from the National Education Association, staff attorney Rick Long, and MEA General Counsel Art Przbylowicz. MEA Southern Zone Director Gretchen Dziadoz stated, “The full resources of the MEA are ready to support the Holland teachers.”

The 340 Holland teachers have been working without a contract since September 1.

The Holland Board recently severed their long-term relationship with attorney Bruce Lilly and hired attorney Barbara Ruga as their negotiator.

For related questions and information, please call Martin Lankford at 355-1936

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Holland Public Fast Facts #5

The current Holland teacher negotiations isn’t about money. It’s all about respect for the Holland community, the teachers and the educational future of Holland students.

  • The school board abandoned the traditional cooperative method of problem solving with the teachers by hiring an out-of-town attorney. It’s about respect for tradition.
  • The school board has ignored efforts by the teachers to settle the contract without spending the district’s surpluses. It’s about respect for teachers.
  • The school board has already defied the community’s wishes by privatizing school employees and restructuring neighborhood schools without community input. It’s about respect for the community.
  • The teachers have always recognized and respected the diversity of the community. They provide all students with a quality education. It’s about respect for the Holland community and its students.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

HEA Bargaining Update

Keeping You Informed
September 15, 2005

Your HEA negotiating team met with the board and their attorney, Barb Ruga on Tuesday September 13th. Some potential compromises on a couple of outstanding language issues were offered by our team, and a full response to their last proposal was given.

The board gave us some illustrative documents on their position as it relates to insurance. Bottom line is this, if you want ANY PLAN, even if it is substantively less than the current level of benefits you have so that your premium contributions (aka. pay cut to pay for it) aren’t very much this year; the district wants YOU to pay for any substantial increases in that plan going forward.

What does this mean to you? The answer is simple. YOU will be paying for future increases in benefit costs, OR you will subject yourself to a perpetual erosion of your benefits in the future. AND, all of this comes at no increased percentages to the salary schedule in either of the two years currently proposed by the district.

The board informed us that, no matter how we go about addressing the issue of attempting to meet the budget constraints of the district, their position on the insurance piece must be a part of this agreement.

We have our next negotiation date scheduled for September 28.

Holland Public Fast Facts #4

Holland Public School’s cost for teachers’ salaries is going DOWN!

YES, as a percentage of operating expenses it is true!

In the 2000-2001 school year teachers’ salaries represented 40.9% of the district’s operating expenses.*

In the 2003-2004 school year teachers’ salaries represented 36.3% of the district operating expenses.*

This is a DECREASE of


During the same time period the district’s profits (surpluses) went up 52%!**

The school board’s refusal to settle the teachers’ contract is NOT about money. So if it is not about money, why aren’t we settled?

Holland Public Fast Facts #3

What does the Holland School Board’s proposal detailed in the August 5, 2005, letter to Holland teachers really mean?

Consider these facts:

  • A teacher that requires health insurance would have $2,388 deducted from their pay in 2005-2006.
  • This equals a 7.2% salary reduction for a 1st year teacher.
  • It also equals a 3.7% salary reduction for a veteran teacher with a Master Degree plus.
If the same proposal is in place for the 2006-2007 school year:

  • A teacher that requires health insurance would have $5,153 deducted from their pay.
  • This equals a 15.5% salary reduction for a 1st year teacher.
  • It also equals an 8% salary reduction for a veteran teacher with a Master’s Degree plus.

The teachers have shown the district how to settle the 2005-06 contract without spending any of the District’s surpluses!
The school board can afford our proposal. They don’t need salary rollbacks to inflate their annual profits (surpluses.)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Holland Public Fast Facts #2

Has the Holland School Board abandoned its long standing practice of cooperative problem solving?

Consider these facts:

  • The School Board severed its relationship with their long time attorney.
  • The School Board hired attorney BARB RUGA.
  • BARB RUGA is the same attorney that was involved in the prolonged bargaining last year in both Kentwood and Kenowa Hills!
  • Both Kentwood and Kenowa Hills lost enrollment during their long drawn-out bargaining!
  • These districts paid their attorney over $350,00O during the prolonged bargaining!
  • Numerous illegal bargaining charges had to be filed against the School Boards by Kentwood and Kenowa Hills teachers!
  • Kenowa Hills’ parents circulated recall petitions against school board members!
  • BARB RUGA left Kentwood and Kenowa Hills divided communities!
Do these facts support continuation of the cooperative attitude that has been a tradition in Holland for years?

Cooperation – NO!


Holland Public Fast Facts #1

Amount of tax money collected by the District PER CLASSROOM that was not spent in 2003-2004 to educate the children of Holland.

Increase in the District’s surplus (fund balance) over the past 4 years (2000-04.)

Amount teachers’ salary costs, as a percentage of operating costs, have decreased over the same period.

Amount of instructional salaries and INSURANCE COSTS including teachers, as a percentage of operating costs, have decreased over the same period.

Amount of additional cuts needed to balance the 2005-06 budget.

Even with the District’s inept ability to budget accurately for 2004-05 the District’s surpluses are relatively equal to 2000-01 when the contract was settled equitably and cooperatively.

The School Board’s refusal to settle the teachers’ contract is NOT about money. In fact, the teachers have shown the district how to settle the 2005-06 contract without spending any of the District’s surpluses!

* Data source, District Audits.
** MI Dept. Of Ed. Form B reports.
This fact sheet was paid for by Holland Public Teachers at no cost to Holland taxpayers. For ALL kids, WE deliver!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Crisis Team Update 9/8/05

Your HEA Crisis Team is mobilized and has met on a number of occasions to plan activities which support the efforts of our bargaining team. Please mark your calendars with the following events:

There will be a Coffee Klatch Training at 4:00 pm at the Holland Teachers’ Crisis Center. We need your help in spreading the truth about bargaining to members of our community. If you can attend this training please do so. This is a very positive way to address our community.

September 22: Open house at the Holland Teacher’s Crisis Center located in the Maplewood Arcade at 788 Columbia (we ask that you park in the back of the building and enter through the back door). Please stop by after school and check out our new “digs”, have a few refreshments and rub elbows with members of the Crisis Team. Free gifts for all members!

Our Bookmarks, which contained valuable information for parents, attracted the attention of superintendent Frank Garcia. HEA president Charles Bullard and chief negotiator Jon Toppen were called into his office and reminded that distributing union publications in a school or at a school function requires the approval of the building administrator.

Data Cards: If you have not yet filled out a data card, PLEASE get one from any building AR. We need EVERYONE’S data! The return them to Rick Slachta at the high school.

Ribbons: Remember to wear your bright green ribbons everyday. They send a subtle yet powerful message. If you need one, contact Donna Wehrmeyer at Jefferson.

HEA Bargaining Update

Keeping You Informed
September 8, 2005

Your HEA negotiating team met with the board and their attorney, Barb Ruga on Tuesday September 6. The majority of the evening was spent having Ms. Ruga hand out a bunch of documents relative to the final figures they have prepared for the 2004-2005 audit.

To paraphrase this rather lengthy presentation, “the board and administration made an inept $900,000 mistake in how much they thought stuff was going to cost last year. It was the fault of computer software and the people using it.”

None of the facts presented last night have anything to do with the board’s ability to reach a fair contract agreement with our teachers. The fact is, for the 4 years prior to 2004-2005, the district settled contracts with us and grew their fund balance. This major mistake in the board and administration’s ability to manage the school’s finances still only drops the fund balance to the level it was in 2000-2001. Four year’s worth of fair negotiated settlements have occurred since then.

There is no reason to think that another one can’t and shouldn’t be expected now.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Crisis Committee Update

Our Holland Education Association (HEA) office is located at 788 Columbia, off the corner of 32nd St. and Columbia. Parking is located in the back of the building.

The Crisis Committee has met six times this month. sometimes those meetings included MEA resource people and sometimes just our district committee. One meeting specifically was a three hour public relations training given by MEA representative, Rosemary Carey.

We will communicate information and activities that we expect you to support and participate in our efforts. Our goal is to raise community awareness and send positive messages that we are hardworking and a huge asset in the community.

Our first positive message/activity will be bookmarks with our slogan, school phone numbers and Fall Parent/Teacher conference Dates. These will be delivered by your AR’s on Tuesday, to be passed out during Open House that evening.

AR’s will be checking phone trees again soon to make sure we can get you urgent messages in a timely fashion. When contacted with a phone tree message please call the next person on the list , identifying the message as a "HEA phone tree" message. If you reach a live person, they should continue the phone tree. If you should reach an answering machine, leave the message and then call the next number on the phone tree. The last person on the phone tree should in turn call the AR to verify that the message has been successfully cycled.

Main line: 355-1936
Fax: 355-1947
Crisis Hotline: 355-1933

Committee Co-Chairs are as follows:

Rick Slachta 393-0333
Joy Klawiter 392-3119

Public Relations
Tam Troff 786-0242
Linda Bodkins 772-9052
Greg Van Portfleet 399-9183

Donna Wehrmeyer 399-6558
Kay Mayer 335-5176

Dawn Perez-Pala 335-8935
Patti Arndt 269-857-7858

David Bast 836-8625
Gregg Kirchen 269-857-4075

Merri Martens 335-5552
Bob Zwiers 772-1707

Rumor Control
Jillayne Wallaker 399-0787
Jay Woods 738-0530