Oct. 14, 2009: Learn from mistakes of the past

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To The Editor:
The Onteora Teachers’ Association (OTA) is to vote on a possible job action on Tuesday to go on strike in an effort to bring to a close the contract negotiation which has dragged on since June of 2008. In my opinion to initiate a job action at this time will only further divide our community. Let us all stay focused on the present situation and the impact of our decisions from this point forward.
What has transpired during past negotiations should provide us with valuable lessons to be learned. Do not let what has happened or what has been said in the past dictate our decisions now. What needs to be done from this point forward is all parties involved and most importantly our community as a whole need to stay focused on the task at hand which is to come to an agreement that the community and the teachers both find acceptable so that we can turn our attention to the business of educating our children.
Let us focus on all the recent progress that we have made in the past few months. The Onteora Board of Education (BOE) has worked with administration to respond to the OTA’s requests to bring BOE Trustees to the negotiation table. New legal council has been put in place in an attempt to offer new insight and alternative approaches to resolving open issues. The facts being presented on both sides are being evaluated via council to provide an impartial solution that may offer a new direction.
This offers the chance for real communication and negotiations that will result in an immediate resolution. I believe that the OTA may and should recognize this as a positive turn of events and will and should come to an agreement amongst them to allow additional time to proceed without invoking a job action. This would be a win - win situation for all parties involved. The teachers have our attention and the communities’ interest, while our children benefit from those who give so much to each and every day they attend school. Now let us take this momentum and find that way forward.
I am speaking as a concerned citizen of the Onteora School District and these comments are not to be interrupted as a collective opinion of the BOE.

Dan Spencer,
Onteora Board of Trustee Member,
Mt. Tremper