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B.E.S.T. agreement highlights school district Warrant


March 17, 2010
BARNSTEAD — A new two-year collective bargaining agreement between the school board and the Barnstead Educational Support Team (B.E.S.T.) is expected to be the dominant topic of discussion when voters gather at the elementary school Saturday for this year's annual School District Meeting.

Article IX on the 2010 school district Warrant asks voters to approve the cost items included in the agreement, and to raise and appropriate $25,714 to cover increases in salaries and benefits during the first year (2010-11).

If passed, the agreement would apply to all food service personnel, custodians, paraprofessionals, office staff, and the school's Behavior Planning Supervisor.

During the first year of the proposed contract, the salaries of B.E.S.T. members would be determined according to a 16-step wage schedule based on years of experience, with the maximum hourly wage set at $14.55 for food service personnel; $15.13 for cooks and custodians; $15.03 for receptionists and Level I paraprofessionals; $15.76 for administrative assistants and Level II paraprofessionals; and $17.25 for office managers.

An additional step (Step 17) would be added to the wage schedule during the second year of the contract, increasing maximum hourly wages to $14.76 for food services personnel; $15.35 for cooks and custodians; $15.26 for receptionists and Level I paraprofessionals; $16 for administrative assistants and Level II paraprofessionals; and $17.51 for office managers.

The Behavior Planning Supervisor and current employees whose rate of pay is higher than the maximum step on either wage scale would receive a two percent pay increase in 2010-11 and a 1.5 percent increase in 2011-12.

B.E.S.T. members who have served the Barnstead School District for 15 consecutive years and who have been at Step 15 for a full year or are off the wage scale completely would receive an annual longevity stipend ranging from $500 to $800 depending on which category they fall into.

Employees receiving medical insurance would be broken down into three categories — Category #1, Category #2, and Category #3.

For Category #1 employees, the district would pay 85 percent of the cost of a single-person plan; the full premium for a single person plus 70 percent of the additional premium for a two-person plan; or a single-person premium plus 76 percent of the additional premium for a family plan.

Category #2 employees who have worked for the district for more than three years with an approved leave of absence lasting less than two years and Category #3 employees who have worked for the district for one year with a an approved leave of absence lasting less than two years would be responsible for 25 percent of the cost of a single-person, two-person, or family plan.

Category #1 employees who are eligible for a district health insurance plan but are able to show proof that they are already covered under a spouse's plan would receive a $1,500 buy-out, while Category #2 employees with existing health coverage would receive $1,000.

The total increases in salaries and benefits are expected to amount to $25,714 during the first year of the contract and $26,814 the second year — a grand total of $52,528.

In the event that Article IX fails, Article X asks voters to authorize the school board to re-negotiate with the union and schedule a special district meeting on a revised contract.

The Warrant at a glance

The remaining articles on this year's school district Warrant include:

-Article 1 — To hear the reports of agents, auditors, committees or officers chosen by the district, and to pass any vote relating thereto.

-Article II, which asks voters to set the district moderator's salary at $150 per meeting; the clerk's at $150 per meeting; the school board chair's at $2,700; those of the remaining board members at $2,500; the treasurer's at $600; the truant officer's at $125; and those of the supervisors of the checklist at $100 each per meeting.

-Article III, which asks voters to raise and appropriate $174,711 in support of the elementary school lunch program, with the full amount expected to be off-set through revenue from food sales and state and federal sources.

-Article IV, which asks voters to discontinue the Middle High School Land Design Capital Reserve Fund and transfer its remaining balance into the district's general fund.

-Article V, which asks voters to raise and appropriate $25,000 to be placed in an existing reserve fund for the purpose of covering any unexpected increases in special education services.

-Article VI, which asks voters to raise and appropriate $15,000 to be added to the Underground Tank Replacement Fund.

-Article VII, which asks voters to raise and appropriate $28,000 for asbestos abatement at the elementary school.

-Article VIII, which asks voters to raise and appropriate $50,000 to be added to the Building Maintenance Fund established last year.

-Article XI, which asks voters to approve the cost items included in the two-year collective bargaining agreement between the high school board and the Prospect Mountain Teachers' Association.

[Editor's note: Due to the fact that all Prospect Mountain articles must pass in both Alton and Barnstead before taking effect, Article XI (which was rejected by voters in Alton) has essentially been rendered null and void.]

-Article XII, which asks voters to authorize a special district meeting in the event that Article XI fails.

-Article XIII, which asks voters to establish a new reserve fund at the high school for the purpose of reimbursing teachers for professional development courses, and to raise and appropriate $10,000 to be placed in the new fund.

-Article XIV, which asks voters to establish a contingency fund for the purpose of covering any unanticipated utility expenses at the high school during the 2010-11 school year, and to raise and appropriate $33,822.11 (Barnstead's share of one percent of the high school's operating budget) to be placed in the fund.

-Article XV, which asks voters to raise and appropriate $20,000 to be added to 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, Barnstead's share of the cost to install two new security cameras on the exterior of the high school and a new anti-theft security system in the high school library.

-Article XVII, which asks voters to raise and appropriate $1,750 in support of a wind turbine feasibility study at the high school, with the full amount to be withdrawn from the district's FY10 end-of-year fund balance.

-Article XVIII, which asks voters to raise and appropriate an operating budget of $10,606,195.55 (a figure that includes Barnstead's share of the high school's operating budget).

-Article XIX, a petitioned article asking voters to raise and appropriate $5,400 in support of a new after-school enrichment program.

-Article XX, a petitioned article asking voters to establish an exploratory committee at the high school to study the feasibility of partnering with Alton on a joint middle school.

-Article XXI, a petitioned article asking voters to leave the wording of the Prospect Mountain High School Joint Maintenance Agreement in place as it was originally adopted by adding language back into the agreement that would grant the high school's joint budget committee (which currently serves in an advisory-only capacity) the same authority and oversight as a municipal budget committee.

[Editor's note: Due to the fact that all Prospect Mountain articles must pass in both Alton and Barnstead before taking effect, Articles XX and XXI (which were rejected by voters in Alton) have essentially been rendered null and void.]

-Article XXII — To transact any other business that may come before the meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday (March 20) in the elementary school gymnasium.

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

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