A special ballot vote will be held to consider a successor contract between the Pittsfield School Board and the Education Association of Pittsfield (EAP). This vote will take place between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 19, at Town Hall.
(New voters are encouraged to register to vote to have your voice heard on this critical issue; absentee ballots are available.)
The EAP represents the school district’s teachers and other categories of educators such as guidance counselors and librarians. The recently-expired collective bargaining agreement is available for review on the district’s website and through the SAU office by request.
The EAP does not represent other categories of employees, such as administrators, paraprofessionals, office staff, or custodians. The agreement between the Board and the EAP is the only collective bargaining agreement within the district.
The recently-expired agreement was in effect between 2014 and 2017. For each year of this contract, the employee’s share of health insurance was increased by 1% per year, and the employee’s share of the dental insurance was increased by 5% per year. Modest salary increases were also included.
The Board and EAP had reached agreement on a replacement three-year contract that was put before the voters in March. Unfortunately, the voters rejected the agreement by a 95-81 vote. This action brought the two sides to the negotiation table again this spring, and another agreement was reached.
The new agreement, which has a one-year term, makes no changes in the salary schedule or the benefits offered. However, returning teachers will advance a “step” on the salary schedule based on the additional year of teaching.
These step increases vary within the salary schedule. For example, a teacher holding a BA or MA degree would gain slightly less than 2.5% for an increase from last year to this year, and such a teacher with 16 years of experience would gain approximately 3.25% for an increase.
Without a new agreement, the previous agreement will remain in effect. However, because employees will bear increase costs for health insurance and retirement system contributions, take home pay will actually be lowered when compared with last year unless the teachers move ahead on the salary schedule based on experience. With a YES vote, teachers and others represented by the EAP will receive modest increases.
We remain very disappointed that the previous agreement was turned down in March, but we now urge you to support our fine teachers with your YES vote on September 19.
Submitted by the Pittsfield School Board
Mike Wolfe, chair; Bea Douglas, vice-chair; Linda Freese, Ted Mitchell, Ralph Odell