Letters To The Editor North Penn Schools: Taxpayer Powerless In Strike

Posted: October 22, 1986

I have been watching with interest the strike at Temple University. I am a parent of two students in the still-unhappy but back-to-work North Penn School District. I find some aspects of the Temple situation noteworthy in pointing out the difference between "public" and "private" methods of dealing with strikes.

The North Penn strike went on for six weeks. The students and parents watched, seemingly powerless, as the school board and teachers wrangled over the issues once a week, sometimes less often. Parents met in frustration, but those meetings seemed to have little or no effect toward forcing the two parties to a settlement. Finally some concerned parents took the ultimate step and instituted a court action to force at least the return of the teachers to class.

The Temple strike was much the same as the North Penn strike for the first week. Students watched, seemingly powerless, as the university staff walked out of the classroom.

However, the Temple situation quickly diverged from the North Penn situation. The student government went to work. It came up with a viable proposal, which at least initially both faculty and administration seemed favorably disposed toward using as a basis for discussion.

Another action proposed by the students is the reimbursement of their tuition since that money is not being used. This second proposal is the ''private" sector recourse in a strike situation that I only wish we taxpayers in the North Penn School District had the option of using.

Money is power. The school board and teachers certainly know that. But I stood and watched as they argued over the use of my money. My children sat at home for six weeks while other people decided what to do with my school tax

dollars.

Hurrah for the Temple students' power to say: no settlement, no bucks. Our family lived in Washington state 10 years ago. In that state, the population got to vote on the school budget in each district. If the voters were not

satisfied, the budget was not passed. How much more democratic could that be?

I am not addressing any of the issues involved in the North Penn situation. That is not my intent. I am just speaking as a frustrated parent who is intimately involved with the problem but unable to participate intimately in the solution. Neither strike is settled yet, but oh to be able to use my position as part of the source of the North Penn School District's income to force both sides to settle.

Go, Temple student body, I salute you!

Susan Cassel

Souderton.

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