From time to time we have chastised teachers and other public employees for not being willing to accept the same cutbacks forced on the private sector during the recent economic downturn.
Therefore, it's only fair that we praise the recent agreement reached between the Lisbon Education Association and the school board that calls for the teachers to work longer days in exchange for small pay raises.
The 71-member Lisbon Education Association will see 30 minutes added onto their seven-hour work days, with the extra time devoted to professional development, staff meetings and planning sessions. The students' day will remain the same length, at seven hours. The extra time is the equivalent of 13 additional work days, and the teachers agreed to this without any additional compensation. Four days held during the school year for professional development will be eliminated under the new arrangement.
Schools Superintendent Don Thompson, applauding the agreement, called it "unprecedented."
Thompson said good management of school finances has enabled the district to provide small raises in exchange for the longer work day.
"We don't go to the voters (for levies), yet we're able to keep our heads above water ... and it happens because we're able to work together," Thompson said.
LEA President Ron Witman, added, "We all agree that education is about putting our kids first."
We congratulate both groups for putting education and children first and working together for the public good.