To the Editor:
It is with great sadness and anger to have read the Providence Journal’s article (2/8/19), “Labor, municipal leaders clash on binding arbitration.” To learn that our democratic leaders, some who I admire and are decent human beings, proposing this measure (House bill H5260) and will vote in favor of binding arbitration on teachers contracts is unthinkable.
Our beautiful students will eventually suffer the consequences, their education downgraded even more so. The mandate is fiscally irresponsible to everyone involved, Warwick included. Our democratic leaders should be helping, demanding and insuring that the Department of Education (RIDE) provides the millions of dollars rightfully belonging to our school budget every year. If this would be accomplished, then the City of Warwick’s share would not be taking the blame and/or conflict being experienced. Fight for this fair share of money.
This is another stark reality. The city cannot save money when salaries and benefits swallow over 80 percent of the school budget. You cannot continue to operate a viable and successful department on the remaining 16 percent. It is imperative that the education of our Warwick students be improved and made worthy of their graduating diplomas.
The final point that the General Assembly’s approval will eliminate strikes is wishful thinking. 1) Teachers’ excessive calling in sick is a reality. 2) Their working to rule is beyond the pale. Both deserve condemnation and need to be stopped. I beg our democratic legislators to use common sense and consider their actions before it’s too late.
Finally, it appears that these same democratic leaders will probably be approving the sale of recreational marijuana even though we have spent the past 70 years trying to stop cigarette smoking, with some success. Will they want to be offering this “perfect gift of marijuana” to our school teenagers, graduates and too many others to count? Together with the present hookah and vaping products already on the streets, this will eventually lead to excessive and damaging situations, in my opinion. Intelligent elected officials should know better, our beloved children, grandchildren and their families need protection from the pending State House and governor’s approval.
Has the demeaning, sickening, never-ending and out of control expansion of Rhode Island’s General Fund ever going to end? Will taxpayers ever get a break from such a fiasco of greed and waste? Don’t bet on it; the odds are too great.