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Letter: Mascenic support staff deserves raise

To the editor:

Members of the Mascenic Educational Support Staff Association have gone without a contract, and therefore without a raise, for too long. The Mascenic Board has reached an agreement with MESSA each of the past four years, yet voters have failed to approve the associated warrant article three years in a row. We ask that voters support Article 3, which proposes experience steps, and a much deserved 5 percent increase for all members of this bargaining unit.

MESSA represents the district’s paraprofessionals; classroom teaching aides, special education aides, and personal assistants. These caring individuals are a vital part of our students’ education, and our schools cannot function properly without them. They are highly qualified and dedicated staff members, averaging nine years of district service/experience.

This district has recognized significant savings in its special education costs by creating in-district programs, which are dependent on paras, for students with specialized needs. This past autumn, the SAU struggled to fill paraprofessional vacancies, with salary being a major factor. We hope voters will recognize that the cost of placing just one student out-of-district, for failure to meet staffing needs, is more than twice the proposed contract increase. Supporting the MESSA contract is not only the right thing to do for our staff, it is a fiscally responsible measure in accordance with the District’s strategic plan.

Please show the Mascenic support staff that they are a valued part of our educational community by voting yes on Article 3.

Tara Sousa, Chad Gibson, Jeffrey Salmonson and
Robert Turner,

Mascenic Regional
School Board

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