Rockland area school staff protests lack of contracts

By Stephen Betts | Oct 06, 2017
Photo by: Stephen Betts Regional School Unit 13 teachers and support staff line the hallway of the McLain School on Oct. 5 as board members arrive to the Thursday night board meeting.

Rockland — Employees of the Rockland area school district are ramping up their effort to make the public aware of the lack of labor contracts.

Teachers and support staff again Thursday night, Oct. 5 lined both sides of the first-floor hallway of the McLain School in Rockland before the start of the RSU 13 Board of Directors monthly meeting. Many held signs showing the length of time they have worked without a new contract as board members arrived for the meeting.

The first mediation session is planned between the board and teachers on Wednesday, Oct. 11. The support staff remains in basic negotiations with the district.

RSU 13 Board Chair Steve Roberts said Friday that the Board and administration are committed to negotiating a fair and generous labor contract.

"The RSU is already providing above the state average compensation and benefits that exceed our surrounding communities. We are working to keep our overall compensation package more attractive and generous than the surrounding area while being fair to the local hard working and or retired property taxpayers," Roberts said.

The Seacoast Education Association is in its second consecutive year without a new contract. They have received no pay increases for the second straight year because of the impasse.

The contracts for teachers expired in the summer of 2016. The support staff contract expired in the summer of 2015.

Neither side has reported what is behind the inability to reach agreements.

Under the lapsed contract with teachers, the salary scale ranges from a low of $36,250 for a teacher with a bachelor's degree and no experience to a high of $63,889 for a teacher with 19 years or more of experience who has earned a master's degree and 15 additional credits. The contract also calls for the district to pay 100 percent of employee health insurance premiums and 75 percent of the difference between the cost of a single policy and a family policy.

A statewide salary list published in the Maine Education Association magazine Maine Educator showed a wide range of salaries across the state for 2016-2017. Teachers in Caswell have a pay range of between $31,000 and $44,000. In Falmouth, the pay scale ranges from $38,623 to $77,246.

The Five-Town Community School District and SAD 28 have a pay range of $38,584 to $71,863. SAD 40's pay range is $35,752 to $67,528.

The statewide average for 2016-2017 ranged from $33,984 for starting teachers to $61,365 for the top of the scale.

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