February 08, 2012BELMONT — Shaker Regional School Board member Tom Goulet announced last week that a tentative agreement had been reached between the district and the Shaker Regional Teachers Association, which represents teachers in the district.
The proposed contract includes few changes, but instead contains some fine-tuning of details contained within the previous contract, as well as agreed upon pay raises. The contract, if approved, would in be in effect from Sept. 1, 2012 until Aug. 31, 2015.
Goulet headed the School Board Negotiations Team, and in his written release, stated the agreement was the result of eight months of negotiations between the board and the teachers' union.
"The negotiations," he wrote, "were conducted with the common goals of securing a multi-year agreement that recognized the economic times we are in, secured the professional services of our excellent teaching staff, and is a fair agreement for both the district voters and our teachers."
If approved by district voters from the towns of Canterbury and Belmont, Goulet said the contract would accomplish six major points contained in its wording.
Besides securing the professional teaching staff over the next three years, it would keep the Shaker Regional School District competitive in starting pay for new teachers; would maintain the current health policy, which would maintain a 60/40 split in employer/employee contributions; and would offer a moderate pay increase over the next three years of the contract.
The average teacher would receive a two-percent annual increase over the three-year life of the contract. Teachers at the top step of the pay scale, approximately 77 percent of the current professional staff, would receive a flat $750 increase each year for the next three years, while those lower down on the pay scale would receive $2,000 in year one, $1,850 in the second year, and $1,625 in the final year.
Changes in the wording of other items contained within the agreement would also clarify policy and practice on other matters.
"We believe we have accomplished (our) goals, and the package that will be presented for voter consideration and approval is one we strongly encourage (voters) to support," Goulet said.
Should the contract meet with the approval of voters, the combined net impact on both Belmont and Canterbury over the duration of the contract will be just over $611,000. Belmont will bear 76 percent of that burden, while Canterbury will take on the remaining 24 percent. Without a bond offset, Belmont will see a tax rate increase of 13 cents per $1,000 in property assessment over the first year of the contract, 25 cents in the second year and 26 cents in the final year.
With bond retirement offset, Belmont would see the same 13 cent increase per $1,000 in valuation over the first year, a 28 cent decrease in the second year, and a 26 cents per $1,000 increase in the last year of the contract. Canterbury would see similar numbers, varying by only a penny or two per thousand.
Hearings on the proposal were held in Canterbury on Feb. 7, and in Belmont the following evening. Voters will now have the final say at the 2012 Shaker Regional School District meeting, scheduled for March 9.