September 15, 2014

Elyria
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59°F
test

Superintendent, teachers at odds in Wellington

WELLINGTON — Negotiations for a new contract for teachers and nonteaching staff in the Wellington Schools broke off earlier this week, and each side is scrambling to score points with the public. Superintendent Victor Cardenzana issued a statement Friday alleging that unions have not been communicating with their members and contending that some teachers earn more per hour than he does.

In his lengthy statement, he argued that the top-paid teachers earn $49 an hour, by calculating that those teachers are working 184 seven-hour days a year at a salary of $63,220. By comparison, he said he earns $47 an hour for his 260 eight-hour days a year at a salary of $97,500, Cardenzana said.

Linda Repko, co-president and spokeswoman for the Wellington Education Association, said the superintendent’s calculations aren’t even close.

“I know of no teacher who works seven hours a day — we take papers home at night and on the weekends and volunteer for committees or help the kids, whether that’s chaperoning at dances or at study tables,” Repko said.

She said the superintendent is trying to drive a wedge between the teachers’ union and the community as well as between the teachers’ union and the non-teaching personnel represented by the Wellington School Support Staff.
“Divide and conquer is his way of doing things,” Repko said.

Cardenzana said he issued the statement to counter “saber rattling and posturing” by the unions in hopes of averting a strike.

“I don’t think a strike would benefit anybody,” Cardenzana said. “The students will lose, the community will lose, and the teachers will lose.”

Repko said some of Cardenzana’s remarks, such as the fact that members of the union don’t know what offers are on the table, are correct, but his contention that there’s something wrong is off the mark.

“We put our trust in the negotiating team,” Repko said.

Repko said that what she does know about the negotiations —even she doesn’t know the specifics —are that some of the offers that have been put forth by the administration are contingent on the district passing a levy. Many teachers are concerned about that requirement as they fear that won’t happen, she said.

No negotiation sessions are scheduled, but the teachers will meet at 6 p.m. Sunday at Wellington Town Hall.

Contact Cindy Leise at 653-6250 or cleise@chroniclet.com.