News Feature

Deer Isle
Web exclusive, April 1, 2011
CSD board ratifies support staff agreement that puts children first

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by Colin Powell

At a special board meeting on Monday, March 28, the CSD 13 school board unanimously voted to ratify a new, negotiated agreement with the school’s support staff. School board member Andrew Vaughn, who served on the negotiating committee, read prepared remarks after the board vote, stating that the new agreement is notable because both the board and the Support Personnel Association wanted to include this statement: “The education of Deer Isle-Stonington CSD 13 students is the primary objective that guides this agreement.”

Vaughn praised Superintendent Robert Webster for helping to draft an agreement that departs significantly from past agreements in the areas of position elimination, binding arbitration and compensation. The new agreement stipulates that job eliminations, where necessary, will be done on the basis of qualifications, written evaluations, employment history and training. Seniority, Vaughn read, would serve only as a tie-breaker.

The new agreement also removes the requirement for binding arbitration, or arbitration overseen by a designated representative of the American Arbitration Association. Language that prohibits an arbitrator from overturning the decision of the school board has also been inserted.

Finally, the new agreement provides a 1.5 percent living wage increase each year, and also provides a scale for employees to receive up to a 2 percent merit-based raise each year. The merit-based raises will be determined based on written evaluations completed by the principal and approved by the superintendent.

Despite the new language, Vaughn commented that the process was not too difficult. He concluded his remarks by stating that he feels the new agreement will be beneficial to both the support staff and the board because “it puts the needs of the children first.” Board member Skip Greenlaw thanked Vaughn, past board member Donald Sargent and the support staff for their hard work.