That is our mood this morning concerning teachers and bus drivers' rejection this week of a negotiated contract proposal with the Alpena Public Schools School District.
We had hoped that as other bargaining units approved similar contracts with the district, the remaining employees would follow suit.
Understandably, no contract proposal that contains wage concessions is easy to accept. We empathize with district employees right now but honestly, over the past several years many of us have seen wages and/or benefits frozen or reduced. This isn't a situation where just one profession is being singled out.
Nor is this a case that within a district, just one group is being singled out. From the superintendent on down to every district employee, concessions have been made.
These aren't normal times school personnel find themselves operating in. The recession had a devastating impact on all of us, and much of what is happening with school financing in Michigan today stems from tax losses in the state during that period. We had hoped everyone understood the financial dilemma and would rally around the district during this uncertain time.
Hopefully all sides can reach a common ground quickly and get a new contract behind them.
Unfortunately until they do, the start of school in Alpena begins Tuesday with a black cloud hovering over the district.