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Teachers' contracts top school district Warrant


January 27, 2010
ALTON — A pair of multi-year teachers' contracts on the docket at the Alton Central School and Prospect Mountain High School will be the focus of attention as voters gather to finalize the school district's 2010 Warrant during Saturday's annual deliberative session.

Deliberative sessions offer voters in Alton and other SB2 communities a final opportunity to make any changes to their town and school district Warrants before going to the polls in March.

Article VI on this year's school district Warrant asks voters to approve the terms of a three-year collective bargaining agreement between the district and the Alton Teachers' Association, or ATA (Alton Central's teachers' union), and to raise and appropriate $85,942 to cover proposed increases in teacher salaries and benefits during the first year (2010-11).

All salary increases during the first year of the contract would result solely from teachers moving up the district's step-and-track schedule according to their level of education and years of teaching experience.

During the 2011-12 school year, however, all teachers would receive a cost of living allowance (COLA) of one percent in addition to any advancement along the step-and-track schedule, with the increased salaries and benefits expected to total $109,426.

The final year of the contract (2012-13) would see all teachers receive a two percent COLA in addition to any advancement on the step-and-track schedule, with the increases expected to amount to $138,914.

Under the terms of the proposed contract, teachers have also agreed to an increase in their health insurance co-pays, with those currently enrolled in HMO plans set to pay nine percent the first year; 9.5 percent the second year; and 10 percent the third year.

Teachers who currently hold point-of-service (POS) policies would pay 10 percent the first year; 10.5 percent the second year; and 11 percent the third year.

The contract also includes a "buyout" option under which teachers who choose not to enroll in one of the health insurance plans offered by the district would receive $3,000, provided they supply the district with a certificate of insurance and a signed statement that they will carry insurance for a full school year.

Teachers with a minimum of 15 years experience and 10 years of service to the district would receive an annual, non-cumulative longevity stipend of $1,000 under the proposed contract, while retiring teachers who have reached the age of 60 and served the district for a minimum of 10 years would be entitled to a bonus of up to $12,000, based on their years of service.

If approved by voters in March, the contract would take effect on July 1, 2010 and end June 30, 2013.

In the event that voters reject the contract, the school board has asked for the authority, in Article VII, to re-negotiate and bring forward a revised agreement at a special district meeting.

PMHS contract

Article XI on the district's Warrant asks voters to approve the terms of a two-year collective bargaining agreement with the Prospect Mountain Teachers' Association, and to raise and appropriate Alton's share of increased salaries and benefits during the first year (2010-11).

During the first year of the proposed Prospect Mountain contract (which would take effect on July 1, 2010 and end June 30, 2012 if approved by voters), all teachers would advance one step on the high school's step-and-track salary schedule, resulting in a total increase of $70,543 (of which Alton would be responsible for 49.81 percent, or $33,137.47, based on the current ratio of Alton and Barnstead students).

The second year of the contract (2011-12) would see all teachers at the high school advance another step and receive a two percent COLA, resulting in an increase of $114,675, with Alton's portion to be determined prior to next year's deliberative session.

Teachers who have been at the maximum salary for their track for least one year as of July 1, 2010 would receive one-time payments of $1,000 during the 2010-11 school year and $500 during the 2011-12 school year.

The proposed contract also calls for teachers to contribute an additional half a percent to their health insurance co-pays during the second year, and includes a "buyout" option under which any teacher who chooses not to participate in the high school's health plan would receive $2,000, provided they supply the superintendent's office with a certificate of insurance.

High school teachers with 11 or more years of experience at both Alton Central and Prospect Mountain would receive one-time longevity stipends based on their years of service, as follows:

-11 to 15 years of service: $500;

-16 to 20 years: $750;

-21 to 25 years: $1,000;

-26 to 30 years: $1,250;

-31 years or longer: $1,500.

Retiring teachers who have reached the age of 60 and served at Alton Central and Prospect Mountain for a minimum of 10 years would be entitled to a bonus of up to $8,000, based on their years of service.

In the event that the Prospect Mountain contract (which is contingent on the approval of voters in both Alton and Barnstead) is rejected, Article XII would grant the Alton School Board the authority to hold a special district meeting on a revised contract.

The Warrant at a glance

Along with Article I (the election of district officers) and Article XX (a mechanism for hearing the reports of any organizations or committees that wish to come before voters), the remaining articles on the 2010 school district Warrant include:

Article II, which asks voters to fix the salaries of district officers and agents as follows:

-Moderator — $200 per meeting;

-Clerk — $200 per meeting;

-Treasurer — $2,000;

-School board chair — $2,100;

-School board members — $2,000.

Article III, which asks voters to raise and appropriate the combined operating budgets of the elementary and high schools, which total $12,898,877.

[Editor's note: If voters reject the proposed operating budget in March, the default budget would be set at $12,910,099.]

Article IV, which asks voters to raise and appropriate $150,000 to be added to the district's Buildings and Grounds expendable trust fund.

Article V, which asks voters to establish a contingency fund for the purpose of covering any unanticipated utility expenses during the 2010-11 school year, and to raise and appropriate $60,000 to be placed in that fund.

Article VIII, which asks voters to set aside $50,000 of the district's unreserved fund balance for the 2010 fiscal year, and add that money to the Buildings and Grounds expendable trust fund.

Article IX, which asks voters to discontinue the defunct School Building Maintenance Expendable Trust created in 1997.

Article X, which asks voters to discontinue the defunct Roof capital reserve fund created in 1999.

Article XIII, which asks voters to establish a new "Improvement of Instruction" reserve fund (which will be used in the future to fund the high school board's contractual obligation to reimburse teachers for professional development classes), and to set aside $10,000 from the high school's FY10 fund balance to be placed in the new fund.

Article XIV, which asks voters to raise and appropriate $33,566.03 (Alton's share of one percent of the high school's general fund) to be placed in a contingency fund for the purpose of covering any unanticipated utility expenses at the high school during the 2010-11 school year.

Article XV, which asks voters to raise and appropriate $20,000 to be placed in the high school's General Maintenance Fund for the purpose of covering any unanticipated maintenance expenses during the 2010-11 school year.

Article XVI, which asks voters to raise and appropriate $6,250, Alton's share of the cost for two new security cameras and the installation of a new anti-theft alarm system in the library at the high school.

Article XVII, which asks voters to raise and appropriate $1,750, Alton's share of the $3,000 cost for a wind power feasibility study at the high school.

Article XVIII, a petitioned article asking voters to establish an exploratory committee at the high school for the purpose of evaluating the feasibility of a joint middle school.

Article XIX, a petitioned article submitted by Alton's budget committee which asks voters to re-instate the original language of the joint maintenance agreement for Prospect Mountain in order to give the joint budget committee final say over the high school's budget.

The deliberative session is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, in the Prospect Mountain High School auditorium.

In the event of inclement weather, the snow date will be Monday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m. in the same location.

Brendan Berube can be reached at 569-3126 or bberube@salmonpress.com

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