Wolves Crying "Wolf"

Angry at recent announcements heralding $39 million in district budget cuts, the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers (CFT) is fighting back. CFT launched an advertising campaign against the board of the Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS), alleging gross mishandling of the district’s budget by board members. “We believe there are serious questions that need to be raised about the competence of the majority of the school board members to handle the current budget crisis,” said Sue Taylor, CFT’s president (and now president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers). Taylor acknowledges the cuts stem, in part, from falling enrollment numbers, but she argues potential layoffs of teachers and staff would harm the district’s ability to “meet the educational needs of [its] students.” Board members see the union’s ad campaign another way. CFT is currently in contract negotiations with CPS board members. Board president Eileen Cooper noted, “That’s the way negotiations are sometimes played.” Gadfly is certainly no apologist for CPS’s fiscal decisions, but it’s hard to take union members’ plaints seriously. According to their current collective bargaining agreement (see here), CPS teachers are required to work just 6.5 hours a day, 183 days a year; get 8 paid holidays, 3 personal days, and 11 sick days; and pay as little as $9 per-month for family health care insurance (see here). Surely, none of this figures into the current budget crisis--pshaw. CFT may want to dismantle its campaign before too many taxpayers grow tired of wolves crying “wolf.”

Teacher Union Ad Criticizes CPS Board,” by Cindy Kranz, The Cincinnati Enquirer, March 22, 2007.

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