Home » News » Politics » Town Meetings
Pelham voters debate increasing teachers' pay
Around 60 people attended the meeting.
Pelham Superintendent Amanda Lecaroz said school officials have been working hard in recent months to set the tone for the new Pelham School Administrative Unit No. 28. The district will separate from Windham in July. Highlights of next year's $27,491,453 operating budget and separate warrant articles include the opening of a new SAU office at Pelham Town Hall and new contracts for the district's teachers and support staff.
A collective bargaining agreement with the Pelham Education Association, the town's teacher's union, would cost zero dollars in the coming year but would increase the budget by $363,283 in the following year to reflect increases in salaries and benefits, school board vice chairman Deb Ryan said. Ryan, who spoke in favor of the new contract, said the district saw three longtime teachers leave for greener pastures over the past year in hopes of earning more competitive salaries.
"A well-constructed salary system rewards classroom experience," she said. "And the costs of teachers leaving are costs that cannot be ignored."
Susan Harden, vice president of the town's teacher's union, said seeing students succeed is the most important part of her job.
"We need to have a partnership, and we need to know the town has faith in us," Harden said. "We're giving our all and our best to the children of Pelham, and we're hoping to get support with this contract."
Resident Tom Gellar said while he understood the desire to match salaries with other districts, he asked whether an increase in salaries was the only way to address this issue.
"Is this the sole, most beneficial solution to this problem?" he asked the board.
"We'd love to match salaries, but we'd need four more contracts to do that," board member Rob Hardy said. "But if this warrant passes, we'll still just be almost competitive."
Resident Jim Bundock suggested having merit-based pay raises rather than step-based increases.
"Incentives for superior performance need to be rewarded, if you ask me," he said.
Resident Bill Scanzani said he doesn't support the new contract due to cost implications.
"After four years, the operating budget will be $2.2 million dollars higher than it is today, period," Scanzani said. "What you can't calculate is the costs of medical insurance (four years from now)."
Resident Mary Alice Cookinham said it's tough to put a price tag on true value of the district's teachers.
"Especially in the Pelham school district, we don't support our educators as much as we should," Cookinham said. "Let's put education and our students first."
Following a lengthy discussion, the warrant article was moved to the March ballot without amendment, as was a separate contract for the Pelham Education Support Personnel Association.
If passed, the contract with the support staff union would cost an additional $60,280 next year to reflect salary and benefits increases.
Voting on all school warrant items will take place at Pelham High School on Tuesday, March 12. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
READER COMMENTS: 1
- Another View -- Charles Lane: The unintended consequences of our immigration laws are severe - 0
- Rockets are the bitter fruits of Israeli generosity - 0
- John Stossel: Why reporting good news is such a problem - 0
- Jonah Goldberg: In Hollywood, liberal values reign, except at the box office - 1
- Pat Buchanan: Impeaching Obama would be a mistake - 1
- Charles Arlinghaus: Does Concord have a big spending problem? - 1
- Another View - Kevin Smith: Londonderry is showing how to make NH business-friendly - 0
- Thomas Sowell: A primer on race and do-gooders - 0
- Ramesh Ponnuru: There is no basis for liberal Hobby Lobby outrage - 0
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Portsmouth police locate, arrest driver after accident - 0
- Two vehicle crash in Milton ends with one driver sustaining fatal injuries - 0
- Portland Sea Dogs get past NH Fisher Cats in righty’s first AA start of season - 0
- Keene Swamp Bats edge Sanford in NECBL action - 0
- Manchester's Hanover St. block party kicks off block party season - 0
- Little, MacDonald 1-2 in wild K&N 100 in Loudon - 0
- Kyle Busch focused leading up to Camping World RV Sales 301 - 0
- Somersworth man charged in three incidents - 0
- Hosts hoping for extended Little League district final - 0
Coco is back in jail, but maybe not for long
Another View -- Tiler Eaton: The Northern Pass project would help, not hurt, NH's economy
Outrageous waste: You overpaid by how much?
Bikers say under-30 generation isn't interested, and can't afford many of the top motorcycles