Survey shows low morale among RSU 13 staff
Rockland — A survey sent to Regional School Unit 13 staff members showed most employees are satisfied with their workplace, but showed concern with where the district is going and said they do not feel comfortable speaking out.
All staff members were invited by Seacoast Education Association to take an anonymous online survey, said President Charles Gallagher. A total of 138 people returned the survey.
The survey, which was sent at the request of an RSU 13 board member, asked about morale within the district, he said. Questions ranged from satisfaction with the workplace, happy to come to work, satisfaction with administration and similar questions about central office staff.
"People are happy with their job and happy coming to work. The two most glaring things were they are concerned where the RSU is going and a number of people expressed concerns about feeling comfortable being able to speak out," Gallagher said.
The administrator's association has also sent a letter to the superintendent's office citing concerns with morale.
Gallagher said a letter with the results of the survey has also been sent to the board for them to use as they see fit.
"We are trying to make people aware, to get a discussion going and move forward," he said.
Superintendent Lew Collins said in a news release the school board is in the middle of negotiating contracts with both the teachers and support staff associations and will soon be starting negotiations with the administrator's association.
"School labor negotiations throughout Maine and the country have become strained in recent years with the lack of sufficient state and federal funding to do the job as well as it needs to be done," Collins said. "Part of that tension for teachers is obviously pay and benefits."
The staff salary and hourly wage step/longevity increases had been withheld by the board pending outcome of negotiations.
He also noted in the news release that teachers are upset because staff are now required to provide a doctor's note if they are going to be out sick for three or more days.
"The board and I believe that there is a significant pattern of unusually high sick leave use in this district. The school board believes that this is not a good thing and that it sends a very mixed message to students when we are trying to convince them of the importance of attending schools on a regular basis," Collins said.
Collins also noted several issues that he has addressed since joining RSU 13, such as revamping special education programs to comply with state laws, requiring teacher evaluations to be completed and provided to teachers and working with school administrators to assure equity throughout the district for individual planning time and lunch periods.
"I have certainly challenged the status quo here in RSU 13 and have done what my employer, the school board, has asked me to do," Collins said. "Their mission, as is mine, includes assuring successful outcomes for our students, the children entrusted to our care by their parents in the six towns."
A special school board meeting, which includes three closed-door meetings is planned for Thursday, Oct. 24, beginning at 6 p.m. One meeting is to meet with legal counsel and two are to discuss personnel matters.
Courier Publications Copy Editor Kim Lincoln can be reached at 594-4401 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
594-4401 ext. 120
Kim Lincoln has worked for Courier Publications since 2003, serving as a reporter, assistant editor and copy editor.
During her time with the company she has worked for each of the three newspapers, The Courier-Gazette, The Camden Herald and The Republican Journal.
When she is not in the newsroom, Kim likes to be outside, whether it be gardening, swimming, hiking or just enjoying the sunshine.
Recent Stories by Kim Lincoln
Dec 05, 2013
Dec 05, 2013
Dec 05, 2013
Dec 04, 2013
Dec 03, 2013