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Letter to the editor

By Staff | May 14, 2010

To the EDN:

How disappointing to see such an inflammatory editorial written by the Estherville Daily News in the opinion section of Wednesday’s paper.

While the ELC Education Association certainly respects any and all opinions, it would be appreciated if the entity writing an editorial opinion for all to see would at least represent things fairly and accurately.

The educators of ELC are a hardworking, dedicated group of people. How disheartening for the teachers to be depicted as villains. This type of writing serves only to incite ill-will, to fracture and divide, not to promote joint cooperation and an environment of working together for a common goal. This settlement was reached through a process of negotiation set forth by the laws of our state and was mutually agreed upon by both parties. The association does not write their own settlement both parties work together.

This settlement has zero impact on taxes. The spending authority for school districts is established by the state and the taxes are determined by the state and the local school board. They are decided before the bargaining is completed. Since the spending is controlled by the state, the settlement, whatever it is, has no impact on the local or state taxes.

The reported settlement cost is $244,981. However, what the public is never told is that when this figure is calculated it is based on every teaching position currently filled. There have been seven retirements accepted for next year, but the cost to fund the settlement still includes those seven positions. The known seven retirements will reduce salary costs to the district by $545,030. The savings from not replacing staff and / or from hiring less experienced staff at lower wages ensures those savings will be there for the district on an on-going basis not just a one-time savings.

Last year’s settlement was reported to cost the district $165,562, when it actually cost negative $33,759. In other words the total cost for teachers’ salaries in 2009-2010 was less than the total cost of teachers’ salaries in 2008-2009. This pattern of spending less on salaries than what is negotiated has been consistent for the last six years.

Reduction of two staff members was going to occur no matter what the result of the settlement with the association. Making it sound as though the settlement with the ELCEA was the reason for the reductions in staff is absolutely not true. The district gathered information from neighboring schools of comparable size to document that some functioned with smaller staffs in the two areas that were cut by ELC. The district used this information to support their decision and initiated these cuts, not the association. In fact the association heartily disagrees with the district’s decision to make these reductions and further the ELCEA is still working to try and prevent these cuts. Blaming our settlement for this decision is simply not reasonable and it is not true.

ELC Education Association

Lili Jensen, President

Letter to the Editor

By Staff | May 14, 2010

This week is National Nursing Home Week, an opportunity to celebrate the lives of our residents as well as the quality of care that is provided at Good Samaritan Society-Estherville.

One statement many people hear when working in a healthcare setting like Good Samaritan is, “It takes a special person to work there – I could never do that.” And I truly believe the Good Samaritan Society staff are special people. Staff members at Good Samaritan Society Estherville believe in genuine care for their residents. They do their jobs because they care and take pride in their work. That means getting to know who residents are and details about their lives and their families. Staff members see residents as individual human beings. Staff members don’t identify residents by their disabilities – they see residents as individuals who contribute to society, who have stories to share and a lifetime of experiences. In recent months, family members of former residents have stopped by, dropped a note in the mail, attended one of our events or simply said hello outside the center. Some of the things said are: “I will always hold Good Samaritan in my heart,” “I am so glad Mom was at Good Samaritan,” and “I knew right away that Good Samaritan was a good place for Dad.” The Good Samaritan Society’s mission is to share God’s love in word and deed by providing shelter and supportive services to older persons and others in need, believing that “In Christ’s Love, Everyone Is Someone.” That mission is what our staff members uphold each day. Residents and their families are special people in our lives. We are proud to serve them by providing love and care every day. I hope you can agree that staff members at Good Samaritan Society Estherville are very special people.

Bruce Radtke, Administrator

Good Samaritan Society-Estherville