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Prospect Mountain board, teachers reach new agreement

June 30, 2010
ALTON — With their initial attempt at a new contract having gone down to defeat earlier this year, the Prospect Mountain High School board and Teachers' Association announced last week that they have reached an agreement on a revised one-year contract.

The new bargaining agreement, described in a joint press release issued by the high school last week as "sensitive to the difficult economic conditions that our towns are currently experiencing," calls for an increase of $32,950 in teacher salaries and benefits during the 2010-11 school year.

If voters in Alton and Barnstead approve the proposed contract at upcoming special district meetings in both towns, the school board and Teacher's Association will return to the negotiating table later this year in the hope of developing a multi-year contract to present to the public next March.

The contract originally brought forward earlier this year was a two-year agreement calling for increases of $70,543 during the first year (2010-11) and $114,675 the second year (2011-12).

The new figure proposed for the 2010-11 school year represents less than half of what teachers originally requested.

Voters in Alton shot down a Warrant article requesting approval of the original contract at the polls in March, essentially rendering the article null and void before Barnstead residents had an opportunity to discuss it at their annual school district meeting later that month.

Voters in both communities did, however, grant the school board and Teachers' Association the authority to re-negotiate and bring forward a revised proposal.

According to the Joint Maintenance Agreement under which Prospect Mountain was established, each town's share of operational expenses (such as the budget and negotiated agreements) is based on its percentage of the student population at the time those expenses are determined.

At this point in time, the ratio of Alton students to those from Barnstead is virtually 50/50, meaning that each community will be asked to raise and appropriate $16,475 in support of the new contract.

No dates have been set at this time for the special meetings on the new contract, which are expected to take place some time in the fall.

If passed by voters in both communities, the contract would be considered effective as of July 1, and would end on June 30, 2011.

Both the school board and Teacher's Association thanked local voters in last week's press release "for the continued support they have given the professionals who educate our children."

Garnett Hill
Martin Lord Osman
Garnett Hill
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