Dear MEA Member,

You recently received a survey which explained the school board’s proposal on paid time off. We want to thank the overwhelming number of you who responded to the survey and expressed your opinion about this contract change.

The MEA Leadership team continues to OPPOSE the proposed language. Over and over at the bargaining table we have made clear to the board negotiators that we will not agree to this change to the MEA contract. Our refusal to accept this proposal is one of the primary reasons why we have not been able to reach a new contract settlement.

We chose not to use inflammatory language to characterize the school board’s position in the survey. The survey language sent to you conveys the school board’s position on this issue without editorial comment from us. We believed it was important to have a response from members based on more neutral reading of the language as opposed to one which was calculated to portray the paid leave proposal for what it is: very bad policy and a non-starter in negotiations. Our experience has been that our communications get published in local media and we did not want to be accused of inaccurately or inappropriately conveying a biased message to gain a response which did not represent your views.

Your responses to the survey have signaled your overwhelming agreement with our position to OPPOSE the new paid time off proposal from the board. More than 85% could not support the proposed change.

We will use the survey results to show the board that their proposal cannot be included in a new contract. If the survey led anyone to conclude that the MEA Leadership supported the change, then we apologize. Having explained, however, the reason why it was worded as it was, we hope you understand our choice of words.

In closing, we want to thank all of you again for your help. We still need you to become involved in spreading the word to other members, to the school board, board of aldermen, and to the public about the challenges we face as teachers in the Manchester School District.

MEA Leadership Team