Executive Session Monday, January 29, 2001

8:50 PM

Media Center

Wachusett Regional High School


Members present:

            John Rokicki, Vice-chairman                       Lorraine Neilan

            Paul Anderson                                               John Nunnari

            Kimberly Ferguson                                       Kathleen Singh

            Sherry Horeanopoulos                                  Rosemary Warren                

Sarah Jordan                                                   Jeffrey Wentzell      

            Peter MacDonald                                         


Regional Selectboard representative present:

            James Scola


Members absent:

            Duncan Leith, Chairman                               Paul James

            Mary Copeland                                              David Lowenthal

            Kenneth Fensin                                              Kelly Maxwell

            Jeffrey Gibbs                                                 Elizabeth Pape

            Jane James                                                    


Administration present:

            Alfred D. Tutela, Ph.D., Superintendent of Schools

            Paul Soojian, Director of Operations

            Mary Scott, Director of Administrative Services

            Philip Campbell, Director of Student/Information Services

            Susan Sullivan, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent


Vice Chairman John Rokicki called the executive session to order at 8:50 PM.


The Superintendent distributed FY01 Column/Step Count as of January 8, 2001 (attachment 1) and Appendix VI (attachment 2).


The Superintendent reviewed the status of collective bargaining.  The WREA is proposing a 6% increase for FY01, FY02, and FY03, the District’s proposal is at 2% - 2.2% - 2.5% for FY01, FY02, and FY03.  The WREA is asking for a longevity increase to $900 at four different increments, years 16/22/28/32.  The District currently has $600 longevity at two increments, years 16/22.  The difference would be a maximum increase from $1200 to $3600, a 300% increase.  The District sees no benefit to this proposal.


There is progress towards a merit pay provision to be finalized February 2002.  If there were disagreement, an arbitrator would be used for everything except for money.


The Superintendent reviewed the three Appendix VI sheets, which are proposals from the District.  The WREA has basically accepted the concept of ultimately doing away with the Bachelor and Bachelor+15 steps and limiting the starting salary steps to five with the Masters degree required before getting the sixth step.  This would give the District greater attractiveness to new applicants.  The parties have tentatively agreed to increase days for first, second, and third year employees for 8, 4, and 2 additional days for professional development.


The WREA has proposed that all members receive 15 days a year, cumulative to 180 days versus the present situation in which any staff member who was employed September 1997 and thereafter has a sick leave benefit of 10 days, cumulative to 120 days.  The District countered that, subject to approval of the School Committee, the District offer to pay 50% of the present disability program costs, which would be valued at approximately $37,400 at today’s rates for the teachers and in the vicinity of $50,000 per year for all employees, which is what the School Committee should be considering in the future.  The Committee agreed by consensus.


The Superintendent reported that the WREA has proposed an increase from 3 personal days, one of which is without reason to 3 personal days, all without reason, cumulative to five. The District sees no benefit to this proposal.


The District is looking to clarify the “Class Action” grievance that only affects one school.


The WREA would like to increase the “retirement buyback” from 90 sick days to 120 days upon retirement and from $4,050/$45 per day to $7,200/$60 per day.  The high school staff, employed before June 20, 199, receive an additional $60 per day which would bring them from a maximum of $9,450 to $14,400. The District sees no benefit to this proposal.


The Superintendent shared with the Committee that the District and the WREA are far apart on the teacher demand of all K-8 teachers receiving 225 minutes of planning time a week and limiting the workday to 6 hours and 50 minutes.  Neither of these proposals have current language in the contract excepting for Paxton on workday nor Sterling for planning time for grades seven and eight.   The Superintendent informed the Committee that there are too many outside issues that would affect time and limit principals’ ability to manage the educational program of a building.  The workday limit would create too much vulnerability for interference of some after-school activities.  The District is proposing identifying exclusions for all of those activities for a workday provision.


The Superintendent informed the Committee that if this cannot be resolved, that the marathon sessions would all be in vain and that negotiations would be referred to Attorney Stonberg and MTA representative Tyler.


The Committee, through consensus, affirmed the direction that the Superintendent is taking.


Motion:  To adjourn the executive session.

                                                                                    (S. Horeanopoulos)

                                                                                    (P. Anderson)


Roll call vote:

In favor:

            John Rokicki

            Paul Anderson

            Kimberly Ferguson

            Sherry Horeanopoulos

            Sarah Jordan

            Peter MacDonald

            Lorraine Neilan

            John Nunnari

            Kathleen Singh

            Rosemary Warren

            Jeffrey Wentzell


(Motion passed unanimously.)


The executive session adjourned at 9:32 PM.


Respectfully submitted,


Alfred D. Tutela, Ph. D.

Superintendent of Schools


ADT:ss School Committee/Minutes