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Northville School Board Candidate Opposes Proposal 2 Union 'Power Grab'

Matthew Wilk says that if Proposal 2 passes, 10 Northville teachers could lose their jobs.

Note: The views of the Michigan Association of School Boards, as referenced below, are not the official position of Northville Public Schools Board of Education.

Proposal 2, also known as the Protect Our Jobs proposal, is on the November ballot and has caused a big stir locally and around the state.

Northville school board appointee Matthew Wilk is the director of a group called Vote No on Two which was launched this week. It opposes the union-backed ballot measure, which would constitutionally protect collective bargaining, among other union-friendly provisions. The Northville Education Association teachers' union has advocated for passage of Proposal 2.

Wilk is one of five candidates seeking election to the board in November. There are three open seats.

“We founded this campaign after hearing how Proposal 2 would devastate local school districts,” Wilk said in a press release. “In an era of decreased funding, the union’s power grab only ensures that our children will face larger class sizes and a poorer education.”

Wilk said that in Northville, 10 new teachers were hired using monies saved from legislative pension reforms. He said that if Proposal 2 successfully passes, overriding the pension changes, those teachers could lose their jobs resulting in increased class sizes.

Vote No on Two launched this week

The Vote No on Two group has a web page, as well as Facebook and Twitter pages. Funds come via private individual donations, Wilk said. The organization accepts no business donations.

"We're not in the pocket of special interests," he said, adding that he's "trying to get a message out about the unintended consequences of Proposal 2."

On its web page, the group describes itself as "a grassroots group of citizens who are concerned this union power grab will destroy our schools, decimate local budgets, and ultimately increase our taxes. Let’s do what we can to preserve the progress we’ve made in the State of Michigan in the last two years."

Wilk said the group is among others that have publicly opposed Proposal 2, including the Michigan Association of School Boards and the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals.

Teachers' union fights for passage of Prop 2

The Northville Education Association (NEA), the district's teachers' union, backs Proposal 2.

NEA president Nick Nugent said in an interview with Northville Patch that he was disappointed to hear a school board candidate was involved with the group.

"I had no idea (Wilk) was involved in that. It saddens me a little bit," Nugent said. "The board is there to negotiate with all of its employees. It surprises me that he would be involved with that. He seems pro-teachers."

Wilk maintains that he is on the teachers' side when it comes to finding quality instructors and reducing class sizes.

"Teachers are not compensated enough," he said, adding that his parents were educators. Changes must be made to the amount districts pay into salary, benefits and retirement to help districts cope with state funding cuts, Wilk said.

The NEA has been talking to voters about the group's position on Proposal 2 and that has been received well, Nugent said.

"Most people are very, very responsive to us and what’s going on," Nugent said. "We talk about what collective bargaining is and that it's a fundamental right. That’s why we’re pushing so hard for Prop 2."

He added that collective bargaining rights for teachers directly affect class size and that the NEA has pushed for lower class sizes in negotiations. He said if Prop 2 fails, teachers' power to lobby for such things will be diminished.

"One thing about collective bargaining is it gives workers a voice, benefits, fair wages and (good) working conditions. Our working conditions are kids' learning conditions," Nugent said.

What do you think of Proposal 2? Tell us in the comments or email your Letter to the Editor to nancy.kelsey@patch.com.

AlexFranklin October 05, 2012 at 06:01 PM
SMF19 re: SB1040 - Here is a link of how SB1040 will be affected. http://www.mea.org/will-you-get-refund-your-3-percent-supreme-court-will-decide If Prop 2 passes, the question of constitutionality is moot - the Amendment trumps the courts.
AlexFranklin October 05, 2012 at 06:05 PM
A parody is an ad hominem attack, Mr. Helzer. Now you can question my screen name or my sincerity, but I am going to continue to talk about Prop 2. I'll certainly respond to you if you do the same.
SMF19 October 05, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Alex let me first say I have appreciated the civility of this thread. The link you posted has nothing to do with Prop 2, and it's not mentioned in the context of that page at all. Prop 2 ONLY affects issues that have been collectively bargained, or prohibited from collective bargaining. 1040 was never a local issue, it wasn't ever bargainable (if that's a word) and therefore will not be impacted whatsoever by Prop 2. What will be affected, is the law that mandates 20% of health care premiums...that would be repealed and and sent back to districts to negotiate. I think what it comes down to is what you have said about should it be an amendment or not....Romney even said on NBC news during the Education Nation Summit that collective bargaining is a right all Americans should have. I think it should be as well, you don't, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. Good luck in November!
Sandy Hughes O'Brien October 06, 2012 at 12:45 AM
Just received Mr. Wilk's campaign flier in the mail so I thought I'd check him out and came across this Patch article. He claims that the passage of Proposal 2 is a union power grab that ensures our children will face larger class sizes; where the hell has he been? We already have large class sizes in Northville. I also love how his group's webpage says they're for "saving young teachers' jobs". Your group only cares about "young" teachers? Yikes! I sure hope his kids' kindergarten teacher still has acne.
Concerned October 31, 2012 at 04:28 AM
Teachers have been told that if 2 does not pass, their contract can be voided by the districts and they could be paid as little as mim wage? Not sure what is ture, but I don't want to see teachers getting their wages cut while most are already under paid. It's not a job I would want to do, and I'm thankful for the people who do teach.

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