School Board and Budget Committee vote to not recommend teacher contract

  • Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative Middle/High School Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 3/3/2021 3:59:01 PM

Voters are to weigh in this Saturday on a proposed three-year contract for teachers, nurses, and other staff on the warrant in Wilton-Lyndeborough this year, which isn’t recommended by either the School Board or the Budget Committee.

Collective bargaining agreements for both the Teachers’ Association and the Support Staff Association are on the warrant this year, but the district’s leading boards have only put their support behind the Support Staff agreement.

The proposal for the Teachers’ Association puts forth increases in salary and benefits for the next three years, stepping from a $117,914 increase in 2021, to $150,755 in 2022 and $152,748 in 2023.

The district and the union had several sticking points during the negotiation, according to union president Melanie Drew, and eventually negotiations entered a point of third-party recommendations, in the form of a fact finder’s report.

The two main points of disagreement, according to Drew, were the rate of salary increases, and the policy regarding giving notice mid-school year. Currently, staff must give 30 days notice if they are planning to leave their positions. The district was seeking a longer notice period.

The fact finder’s report recommended a compromise, where the first year of raises be based on the district’s proposal, and the remaining two year’s on the union’s proposal, and keeping the 30 day notice requirement.

Budget Committee member Jeffrey Jones said the decision not to support the contract was not unanimous, and he himself voted in favor of supporting the article, but the majority of the board felt it was too large an ask after a difficult year. Both boards were not against a pay increase for teachers, offering a 3 percent increase, Jones said.

“The majority of the members felt this was not the year to be looking for such a large increase,” Jones said. “Last year’s budget was a tough pill to swallow for the public.”

While the fact finder’s recommendations on pay were based on comparable school districts, Jones said some members of the board felt that comparing Wilton-Lyndeborough to districts that are geographically close, but larger, such as Milford, was an unfair comparison.

In a statement issued by the union, the union expressed “disappointment” in the board’s decision not to support the contract, noting that there are other changes which both sides were in accord on which are beneficial to the district.

In addition to compensation, the contract would allow for changes in administrative procedures requested by the school board, an increase in the number of student instructional days and add six employee professional development days, and make other improvements both sides have agreed to but cannot implement without a new contract.  

“The recommendations in the report represent a fair compromise that will strengthen our school community. The recommended changes are sustainable and will move our district in a positive direction, balancing the interests of the district’s employees and the taxpayers,” the union’s statement said.

If passed, the estimated tax impact on Lyndeborough is 19 cents per $1,000 of value, and 22 cents for Wilton.

The boards did recommend the collective bargaining agreement for the support staff, which includes increases of $24,148 for the 2021 year and $19,546 for 2022.

Other articles on the warrant include the budget, which is proposed this year at $12.97 million, and would represent a small decreased tax burden for both Wilton and Lyndeborough, as well as two requests for additions to the district’s capital reserves for facilities and a special education contingency fund.

The Wilton-Lyndeborough District Meeting is scheduled to be held this Saturday at the Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative Middle/High School at 9 a.m. A snow date of March 8 at 7 p.m. has been set.


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