Teacher Pay Agreement, Kudos to Karen Cruickshank

T/E School Board President Karen Cruickshank Welcomes Compromise by TEEA on Proposed Pay Waiver
by Kathleen Keohane

School Board President Karen Cruickshank expressed her gratitude to the Tredyffrin-Easttown Education Association (TEEA) for their offer of a 6-month pay waiver for the first half of the 2011-12 school year. The offer was unanimously accepted by the Board at their May 9th meeting with deep appreciation for the teachers’  “willingness to meet us more than halfway.”  Karen characterized it as “a huge, huge thing, a real grass roots effort on the part of our teachers, who do such wonderful things in the classroom.”

The agreement freezes all compensation at 2010-11 levels and helps close next year’s $3 million budget gap.  It is a permanent deferral of the 6-month increase that will not only save the District almost $1 million in salary expense next year but cumulatively save about $1.1 million in the out years, according to T/E Business Manager and Board Secretary, Art Mc Donnell.

This agreement required opening and amending the TEEA’s collective bargaining agreement.  It does not include any extension of the existing 4-year contract set to expire in June of 2012.  In return, the District has committed not to furlough or “demote” teachers from full-time to part-time status for one year.

At the monthly school board meeting, TEEA President Pete DePiano spoke of being “so proud of the membership of the TEEA for stepping up with this offer.” Expanding those comments afterwards, Mr. DePiano expressed special gratitude to Karen Cruickshank for her efforts. “It was that continued line of open dialogue that made all this possible… She kept talking to us…Karen was the glue, she was the key to all of this.”

Karen Cruickshank with Kevin BuraksOver the last 3 1/2 years Karen has proven to be a consensus-builder and leader committed to preserving the excellence of T/E programs. She has collaborated with members of the Board and Administration to find responsible cost reductions to balance the District’s budget in the face of state cuts, decreased tax revenue and interest income, and a sharp increase in the district’s pension obligations.   In January she was unanimously chosen by fellow board members to serve a two-year term as president.

Karen’s support and counsel crosses the partisan divide.  Among those who understand best the challenges of keeping our schools great, Karen enjoys the endorsements of past School Board presidents, Liane Davis and Deborah Rollins, past vice-presidents Kevin Grewell and Sandi Gorman, and the chair of the Interschool Council, Holly Amsterdam.

Voters can retain Karen’s valuable experience as the board’s past legislative liaison and Education Chair, and most recently as president and lead negotiator with TEEA by re-electing her to the Tredyffrin-Easttown School Board.  Find out more about Karen.

Additional information on T/E’s 2011-12 budget.

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