Swanton teachers say 'no' to superintendent

Posted by Kate Oatis email

SWANTON (WTOL) - Swanton teachers have no confidence in that district's superintendent. That was the unanimous vote against new school Superintendent Paulette Baz on Friday.

Teachers say Baz does not have the ability to effectively lead the district.

News 11 tried contacting Baz for a comment on the vote. She was in a meeting and, so far, has not responded.

The following report was filed on August 13

Report by Tanieya Lewis - email | bio

Posted by LS

SWANTON (WTOL) - Kids in Swanton schools are back in their classrooms, but threats of a strike have them wondering how long their teachers will be there.

"It's the last thing we want to do. Is it something we're prepared to do? I would say an unanimous vote tells you yes. We're prepared to do that," Union Spokesperson Steven Brehmer tells us.

Swanton Superintendent Paulette Baz tells News 11, "Until we implement an offer and actually receive a notice from the SEA (Swanton Education Association), we continue to go status quo educating our kids."

Teacher contract negotiations that started in April have remained out of public view until this week. That's when Brehmer sent a press release to media outlets threatening a teacher strike if those talks don't improve.

"We are diligently trying to work with them. We have another session scheduled next week to try to sit down and come to terms with that," says Cheryl Swisher, treasurer of Swanton schools.

Brehmer says, "Every time we met this summer with the mediator the only person our group talked to was their lawyer. We never talk to the superintendent or the treasurer and we were just frustrated by that."

And as frustrations build, so do the accusations. The district's treasurer is still smarting from claims that she gets top billing while its teachers are the lowest paid the in district.

"Quite honestly, I am little bit taken by surprise by that press release," Swisher says.

"We do know her salary and she's the second highest paid treasurer in Fulton County," says Brehmer.

The union is crying foul. The district says it must negotiate while planning for a future deficit. Yet it plans to lower taxes in November if voters to pass a .75 mill levy renewal on a current 1.25 mill tax. "That doesn't sound to me like a district that is going into deficit spending," Brehmer says.