When the Board of Education voted unanimously at a recent meeting to accept the labor contract just negotiated with the union representing Darien teachers, several parents from town parent-teacher organizations spoke up during the public comment part of the meeting, all strongly supporting the new contract.
Here’s what each speaker had to say (with some comments excerpted) at the Nov. 12 meeting of the Board of Education. Times show where the speakers statements can be found on the public video of the meeting.
Julie Best and Sara Parent
Co-chairs of the Council of Darien School Parents, an umbrella organization of parent-teacher organizations in town — the two spoke alternately to give a single joint statement together [4:43 to 5:59]:
We are speeking tonight in support of the teachers and the teachers contract. We’re proud of our school system in Darien. It’s one of this town’s most attractive features and a key factor in drawing new families to Darien.
We have our teachers to thank for that. They’re a talented and committed pool of professionals. They travel great distances. They give of their own time. They shoulder the high demands of the parents in our town, and they’re providing our kids with an excellent education.
We know the importance of spending to maintain assets, and teachers are a huge asset to our town and our children.
“We’ve been experiencing too much teacher turnover, and we’re struggling to attract the best and the brightest.”
— statement from the Council of Darien School Parents
We’ve been experiencing too much teacher turnover, and we’re struggling to attract the best and the brightest. The vote tonight is [about] a contract between the Board of Education and our teachers.
Please approve it and send the message to our teachers that we support them, and we recognize their value.
Olsen is a co-chair of the Darien High School Parents Association. [6:05 to 6:37]
Darien schools are critical to every aspect of the town’s success. In these uncertain times, with multiple negative economic indicators, the timing isn’t right for the town to gamble with it’s teachers.
A fair contract that keeps Darien schools as one of the most desirable destinations for teachers has never been more important.
Lublin is a co-chair of the Ox Ridge Parent Teacher Organization. [6:43 to 7:30]
I just wanted to comment briefly and voice my support for teachers, as well.
All of you sit in a lot of meetings, and you clearly value our education. I sit in a lot of meetings, as well, as do a lot of our dedicated parents here, and there are a lot of things that go into creating the robust education system that we have in Darien.
Facilities are obviously a big one [and] curriculum, but nothing really impacts the students nearly as much as their classroom teachers.
These are the people that are really imparting the wisdom and education, and inspiring curiosity every day. So I stand with them.
Abbott is a co-chair of the Royle Parent Teacher Organization. [7:34 to 8:03]
When we moved here just a couple of years ago, the schools were the No. 1 reason we chose Darien. The teachers are paramount to that.
We experienced at least one teacher leaving last year as a result of a better contract somewhere else, and we hope not to see that any further.
I’d like to express our support for the teachers contract, as well.
Delancey is president of the Darien Education Association. [1:146:46 to 1:47:58]
I just wanted to speak on behalf of the teachers and, first and foremost, thank the parents who came out tonight to speak on our behalf.
Seeing your support means a lot to these teachers, who come to Darien every day to give 100% to the students and families of Darien, so thank you for your support.
I want to thank [schools Superintendent] Dr. [Alan] Addley and Ms. [Tara] Ochman [the Board of Education chairperson] for the work that we’ve done through the negotiation process. It is a tremendous effort to create a contract that is fair, and it supports the needs of the teachers, but also represents the district, as well, and so I thank you for that collaboration and that work.
The teachers seek to always maintain a productive pro-active and positive relationship with the Board of Education, as well as Dr. Addley, the superintendent, and all of Central Services, and we look forward to continuing that work, and are excited to keep moving forward with a new contract for 2020.