To the editor:
As a resident of Dover, NH, I also read another local newspaper to follow events affecting my beloved City. Among the many issues reported in that other local newspaper affecting the political and social future of Dover are:
the Teacher's Wages and its affect upon the City Budget and resident taxpayers;
"Groups urge Dover to reallocate police funding"; and
"Council divided by Equity and Inclusion proposal".
It is abundantly clear that the progressive left socialist woke influence has arrived in our beloved little Garrison City. It is also abundantly clear that the local newspaper DOES NOT do in-depth research and fails to report facts which are contrary to the liberal progressive agenda.
The strength, arrogance, and entitlement attitude of the teacher's unions is explicit by demanding that the over the legal tax cap teacher's wages be funded during a time of economic crisis. There is an emergency crisis provision for the City to put such contractual wage increases on hold. The media and the Teachers conveniently omit this legality from its arguments and demands while ignoring that this country and small city has endured the worst pandemic in over 100 years.
Seacoast Black Lives Matter Executive Director Clifton West, Jr. advocates that the City re-direct funding away from law enforcement and toward social programs. Clearly, he is out of touch with the increase in violence across the country in cities where police were "defunded". He needs to watch something other than the liberal media sources.
City Councilor, Lindsey Williams is reported as stating she was disappointed and embarrassed to sit on a council that has discounted and disrespected the input and recommendations of the Racial Equity and Inclusion Committee when IN FACT the City Council voted 6-3 to TABLE a land acknowledgement statement acknowledging the "unceded" land Dover stands on--NOT disrespect the home of local Indigenous tribes and totally ignore native Americans. Ms. Williams clearly needs to allow the civic process to proceed as it is intended.
Each of the above politically charged issues require a lengthy letter to discuss in detail. I will, however, focus my comments on the Teacher's Union at this time and the failure of our teachers to care about the good of the community and the LAW as written.
The City of Dover entered into an agreement to provide wage increases over a period of years to the city's teachers. That contract was entered into long before the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic. Fortunately, there is a LEGAL clause in the contract to put things on hold if there is an economic crisis. I would say that the past 16 months qualify as an economic crisis. I commend the City of Dover for its foresight to include an economic crisis clause in the teachers' contract.
Considering those facts, the progressives in the City of Dover and the Teacher's Union are missing an exceedingly important, timely and teachable moment for our children and residents. This is a time when a good example could be set--one that we could look back upon with civic pride.
How many of our citizens know that our city leaders were looking out for the best interests of the community in the event of an economic crisis AND at the same time support the teachers of the community?
We all know that actions speak louder than words. Example is the best teacher whether it be the example set by a parent, a relative, a teacher, a neighbor, a friend, or a mere acquaintance. If the Teachers' Union does not consider the past 16 months an economic crisis, one must question what are the teachers in our city really teaching our children?
After surviving the worst pandemic in about 100 years:
(1) Where is the compromise for the better good of the community?
(2) Where is the attitude that we are all in this together?
(3) Where is the desire for us all to pull together making our community a better place after surviving Covid-19?
(4) Where is the recognition that the City is NOT breaking its contractual obligation, but is enforcing its legal obligation in the interest of its residents?
Historically, Americans have united for a common cause to overcome adversity and have been willing to sacrifice in so doing. The City should acknowledge and thank the teachers who worked to support remote learning under difficult conditions.
The Teacher's Union should stand down, allow the City to comply with its contractual obligation for the betterment of its residents, and recognize the suffering and financial hardship experienced by the community over the past year. A teacher is a person who should serve the community--not cause undue suffering to its residents.
The school budget currently accounts for approximately 53% of the entire City budget. While the teachers have not lost a day's pay or benefits during the pandemic, many families have suffered severe hardship. Over the next year, many will continue to struggle to pay overdue bills and rent, as well as purchasing food. The residents of the City of Dover are the ones impacted by higher taxes and the current consumer inflation at a time when they can least afford to pay higher costs. The teachers are the ones who are ignoring the legal liability of the City and the media is playing right into their hands.
If the teachers were more willing to share in the hardship of the community and simply postpone their wage increase or a portion thereof, most assuredly they would be rewarded by the community in the future and not viewed as an arrogant entitled class of progressives.
- Cheryl Russell,