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Tentative teacher/support contracts set stage for performance-based raises

December 29, 2010
WHITEFIELD — Work performance and student achievement may be the new standards by which pay raises are handed out in the White Mountains Regional School District.

The educational support staff and WMRSD school board both ratified a tentative one-year labor agreement last week in advance of the Christmas break. The contract, which will go before District voters in March for a "yea" or "nay" vote, is an extension of the current contract plus a two percent raise.

New language is also included, however, to allow for a substantial change in the approach to negotiations that will begin shortly after the New Year. "The extended additional year shall be used to negotiate a successor agreement that will contain a salary increase provision and Reduction in Force (RIF) process that are based upon work performance," the language reads.

The language also makes clear that the proposed two percent pay increase "represents a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) agreed to by the parties and does not constitute a pay plan" under the state's new "evergreen" law that would establish a new base. "The parties also acknowledge that this agreement does not create a precedent for themselves or any other bargaining units," the tentative agreement reads.

A committee made up of White Mountains Educational Support personnel and WMRSD school board personnel shall begin to work on the next agreement no later than Jan. 17, 2011.

The tentative one-year teachers' contract extension, which District voters will also be asked to approve in March, contains similar provisions, including a two percent raise that would be exempt from the state's "evergreen" law.

It, too, calls for the additional year to be used "to negotiate a successor agreement." In the teachers' case, there would be new salary increase provisions that would be based upon "student achievement."

The White Mountains Education Association and WMRSD school board personnel will begin to work on the next agreement no later than Jan. 17. In addition, the contract language states: "the Memorandum of Understanding that is in the tentative agreement of Dec. 2009 for a Reduction In Force (RIF) procedure will be implemented."

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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