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Mascenic teachers deserve support

To the editor:

The article “Union Raises to Cost $550K” on Jan. 16 should have noted that the Mascenic Education Association, MEA, is the exclusive collective bargaining representative for nurses and guidance counselors, as well as teachers, employed in the Mascenic School District.

The School Board and MEA representatives worked collaboratively, reaching an agreement that benefits the entire school community. The Board and the Union share a common goal: to provide an excellent education for Mascenic students. The agreement ratified by the Board supports that goal, by seeking to attract and retain high-quality teachers. School Board negotiator Tara Sousa commented in last week’s article that the Mascenic District lost 10 teachers in the last two years because Mascenic salaries are significantly lower than in neighboring districts. This problem has been compounded in recent years due to lack of community support for Mascenic contracts; teacher pay stagnated (even decreased due to changes in health insurance premiums) while salaries in nearby towns increased via routine cost-of-living adjustments.

The agreement ratified by the School Board and the MEA provides a modest pay increase, which will help the district attract and retain the best new teachers. The School Board and the MEA hope voters will support this investment on behalf of our school community. The bottom line for every school district is that its teachers and staff are its most important asset.

The MEA wishes to recognize the hard work the School Board does on behalf of students, teachers, and staff. The agreement ratified by the Board this year is fair, fiscally responsible, and furthers the Board’s and MEA’s shared mission to support great public schools for every child in Greenville and New Ipswich.

Diana Griffin

President, Mascenic Education Association

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