WVN #381: Teacher contract agreement
- Dear Wayland Voter,
The School Committee has agreed to a new three-year contract with Wayland teachers. Details aren't known yet, but salary increases appear to be above present inflation rates.
Other school news in this newsletter:
-- The last bonds to build the new high school have been issued.
-- A fall forum provided updates and a preview of budgeting plans.
-- Consultants are at work in the search for a new superintendent.
Town Administrator Fred Turkington has announced that the last bonds for the new high school have been issued, and planning for new capital spending is about to begin. He listed a new public works garage, a new municipal building on the Town Center project, new athletic fields, a library, a second water treatment plant, and a new senior center among possible projects. The Finance Committee will meet Monday at 7 p.m. to discuss capital planning and the town's debt capacity. The meeting is public and includes an opportunity for public comment. For more information about the town's finances, consult the department's website:
A press release announced a resolution to the longest teacher contract negotiation in memory. The text is at
According to the announcement, "The Wayland Teachers Association ("WTA") and the Wayland School Committee ("SC") are pleased to announce that a new three-year labor agreement has been reached.....The term of the contract extends from July 2010 through June 2013, with the total settlement meeting the Finance Committee's long range plans for the Town...
"One of the major points of the agreement within the new contract involves salary increases. For the 2010-2011 school year, each teacher will receive a one-time payment funded exclusively from the Federal Education Jobs Funding program. In addition, for the 2011-2012 school year, each teacher will receive a salary increase of 1 percent and a 1.5 percent one-time payment. For the final year of the contract, the 2012-2013 school year, each teacher will receive a 2.5 percent salary increase.
"The other major point of agreement within the new contract includes modifications to health care offerings. Effective for the second year of the contract, the 2011-2012 school year, all teachers enrolled in an HMO health insurance plan will transfer to one of the Rate Saver Plans ("RSP") offered by the Town... "
In 2009 about half of the system's professional employees earned at least $90,000 annually.
The previous teacher contract, which expired in June, provided for a 6.5 percent increase over three years. This does not include the increase in the value of health insurance benefits over that period. According to an online inflation calculator, cumulative inflation over that period was 4.6 percent . Currently, inflation is running about 1 percent.
National figures show average salaries in the private sector have not kept up with inflation for decades. Recent contracts in many municipalities contain no raises.
On November 22 the School Committee held a sparsely attended Fall Forum to provide an update on major issues and a preview of its FY12 budget plans. A Powerpoint presentation is available on the school website:
Strategic Goal areas and priorities were laid out, and the status of the search for a new superintendent to replace the retiring Gary Burton was reviewed (see next item). The status of the new high school construction project was reported. A Guaranteed Maximum Price has been set, which means the confidence level that the project will come in slightly under budget is now very high. Ditto for the schedule. Reimbursement from the state is arriving as planned. A construction milestone has been achieved with the completion of the steel framing. No serious issues have surfaced, and the School Committee is pleased with the project thus far.
The "Operational Review" of administrative functions, the result of a 2010 annual Town Meeting petitioners' article, is proceeding but will not be completed in time to affect next year's budget. To learn more about this committee's progress:
The budget process is under way and assumes no operational tax override next year. The superintendent will present a budget to the School Committee in December, and the committee will hold a budget forum on Jan. 6.The budget will go to the Finance Committee on Jan. 24. It includes funds for teacher "step and lane" increases (raises based on longevity and advanced degrees) but no general salary contract increases.
Perhaps most importantly in the long run, enrollment numbers were reviewed. As expected, the total school population will drop next year, with the biggest decline of 30 students at the high school. The other grades will drop an average of two students per grade, with one notable exception: the kindergarten population is projected to increase by 15. This reverses a long-standing trend. Since the same children who enter kindergarten generally remain in the system all the way to graduation, this shift foreshadows the future.
Search consultants from Future Management Systems have completed the first phase of their efforts, which involved establishing the desired characteristics of a new superintendent, attracting candidates, and launching a search committee. The search committee will be reviewing resumes during December, interviewing prime picks, and recommending three or four to the School Committee to interview and make a final selection. The goal is to appoint a new superintendent by mid-February.
Laying the foundation of specifications for the new school leader was a multistep process beginning with an interview of the School Committee itself, but proceeding to phone interviews, focus groups, and an online survey. Consultant Bill Gar remarked that there was remarkable consistency in the inputs he received.
The search committee has been selected and includes three school administrators, three teachers (including teachers' union head Conrad Gees), and six parents and community members.
Gar reported that 34 applicants had responded to the search, "probably more candidates than we've had in a few years; Wayland is a very attractive community". Beyond the sheer number, "The ones we were hoping would apply, applied," he said.
The Leadership Profile developed by FMS to guide the selection listed the following traits:
Strong educational leader; articulates a clear vision for the future;
Builds and maintains high performing academic and support teams.
Knowledgeable about the use of technology
Highly effective leader and manager; well organized; effective decision maker;
Competent in the area of school finance.
Intellectual (not just pragmatic); sharp, bright, well read in theory and in practice.
Outstanding people skills; capable of working with a range of people
Outstanding communicator: well spoken, writes well, exceptional listener;
Visible, fair and responsive; generates excitement; motivates.
Self-secure; maintains a sense of humor; capable of working within an intellectual community.
Accessible; easily approachable.
Maintains highest levels of honesty and integrity.
To see the complete documents generated by FMS:
You can read all previous WVN newsletters at:
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Wayland Voters Network
Michael Short, Editor