Settlement reached in RSU 40 contracts
Union — After nearly two years of contract negotiations, Regional School Unit 40 Board of Directors announced it has reached a settlement with the Medomak Valley Education Association.
The settlement was announced in a press release prepared Dec. 10 by board member Tod Brown, also a member of the board's negotiating team. Negotiations began in January 2012.
"For Maine, some of the features of the new contract are groundbreaking changes in the way teachers are paid, and represent a step forward in accountability for teachers and students. These changes are directed toward improved student achievement through better teaching," the release states.
RSU 40 teachers will be paid more — with increases of 1.5 percent, 2 percent and 2 percent in each of the three years of the contract — retroactive to the 2012-2013 school year. Step raises will also be included each year, which had been traditional.
"There will be some additional options for teachers' health insurance, including higher-deductible plans," according to the release.
Each new teacher hired will be required to obtain a master's degree within 10 years of initial employment by the district.
As the board seeks to boost student scores on standardized tests, each school faculty in the district will develop goals for improvement in collaboration with the administration — which will be subject to approval by the school board.
Negotiations included an additional $1,000 bonus for each teacher If the school's goals are attained for 2014-2015. Should the school fail to meet the set goals, those monies will be used to fund professional development activities focused on improving teaching and student performance.
"The board feels that this approach will tend to promote collaboration among faculty rather than the competition fostered by traditional 'merit pay' plans — that focus on individual teachers," states the release.
An additional $500 will be available to teachers who develop student activities focused on the community that are related to curricular goals.
"Although the financial resources available to fund our schools are under severe pressure, the board feels that the settlement is fair to both the teachers and the taxpayers. The achievement of our students has been the board's focus throughout the lengthy negotiations and it is the board's hope that this contract will make it clear to all that we have high expectations of our students, our teachers and our community," the release concluded.
"I am glad it has been settled," stated Interim Superintendent Michael Cormier.
Paul Forest, president of the MVEA, could not be reached for comment.
Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext.. 125 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
594-4401 ext. 125
Beth rejoined Courier Publications' news staff in February 2013. She previously worked at The Courier-Gazette from 1981 to 1990.
Her coverage area includes Warren, Union, Friendship, Waldoboro, Washington, and Thomaston and RSU40.
Beth has a passion for photography, and a degree from the University of Maine at Augusta, in affiliation with the Maine Photographic Workshop in Rockport.
Aside from photography, Beth enjoys running and walks along the waterfront, as well as other outdoor activities. She has a daughter, Claire, who is 13.