School District Meeting: Deliberative Session

Thank you to the many Pittsfield citizens who participated in last week’s Deliberative Session, which was convened to discuss the proposed new collective bargaining agreement between the Education Association of Pittsfield (the teachers) and the Pittsfield School Board.

Many opinions were expressed, representing a wide range of ideas; topics included the property tax rate, health insurance plans offered to employees, school funding, and teacher salaries, among others. We appreciated the opportunity to hear from so many engaged citizens.

Rest assured that the message regarding health insurance and cost containment has been heard loud and clear. As was stated during the meeting, the Board has met with insurance pool representatives and is considering several options that will provide our full-time employees with adequate health insurance while saving money for Pittsfield taxpayers.

The proposed contract provides for continuation of the most recent contract, which recently expired.  Because of increase cost of health insurance contributions and retirement system contributions, returning teachers will be receiving smaller take-home checks unless the new contract is approved by voters.

The cost of the new contract is estimated to be $66,486, which represents a $.25/thousand tax rate increase or $25.00 in new taxes for a property valued at $100,000.

We urge you to vote YES on the one warrant article to be considered at our upcoming vote: 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., 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 also available.

Finally, we thank Moderator Gerard LeDuc for conducting a civil, well-organized meeting during which all speakers and all sides were respected.

Submitted by the Pittsfield School Board

Mike Wolfe, chair; Bea Douglas, vice-chair; Linda Freese, Ted Mitchell, Ralph Odell