L-S School Committee Statement on Teachers' Assoc. Negotiations

The statement was made public on Nov. 2.


The following statement is from the Lincoln-Sudbury School Committee:

You may be aware that contract negotiations between the Lincoln-Sudbury School Committee and the Lincoln-Sudbury Teachers' Association have not yet resulted in a signed agreement. Many LSRHS teachers were present at a recent regular School Committee meeting and read a thoughtful statement regarding the negotiations process and their desire to reach agreement. We, too, hope to conclude collective bargaining negotiations in the near future.  The purpose of this letter is to outline the School Committee's position on the current status of our bargaining process and to help answer any questions and concerns from students, parents and community members.

We have had a number of formal negotiating sessions with the Teachers' Association, beginning in Fall 2011. Our priorities throughout the negotiations process have been:

  • retaining faculty and staff of high quality across the curriculum;
  • restoring faculty, decreasing total student load, and maintaining Lincoln-Sudbury's curricular depth and breadth;
  • making the compensation package for junior faculty more market competitive;
  • achieving fixed and modest growth in the District's annual budget through Fiscal Year 2015; and
  • meeting the state's educational mandates and Lincoln-Sudbury's graduation requirements.

The School Committee has reached tentative agreement with the Teachers' Association on many of the issues raised at the bargaining table, including an agreement on health insurance that resulted in preservation of benefits for faculty and staff as well as cost savings to the District.  However, a number of important issues, principally related to compensation and our ability to schedule students into appropriate classes, remain outstanding.  Despite our good faith efforts over the last year to resolve these issues, the School Committee has decided to utilize the procedures available under state law to appoint a mediator to assist us in reaching agreement on the outstanding issues.

In the meantime, we are continuing to honor the terms of the teacher contract that expired on August 31, 2012 and the agreed-upon terms related to health insurance, thus ensuring continuity of operations for our school. Approximately half of our teachers have realized increases in their salaries this year, even without a signed contract, due to movement from one step to the next on the 17-step salary schedule or as a result of a "lane" change, which reflects graduate study or other continuing education. This is true even before any percentage increases to base salaries are applied. The School Committee has worked diligently and in good faith to reach an agreement with the Teachers' Association that would translate into fiscally responsible terms, including an agreement that would allow for an increase in the base salaries for senior staff members as well as those still advancing on the steps of the salary schedule.
The School Committee's proposals to the Teachers' Association have been informed by the fact that, due to fiscal challenges, we face a significantly different economic reality than we did when negotiating prior contracts. We expect these challenges to continue, due to a still-weakened economy and slow growth in tax revenue.  These challenges are exacerbated by the adoption of unfunded mandates from state and Federal governments that have an adverse effect on our budget.  At the same time, we anticipate a significant increase in enrollment at Lincoln-Sudbury in the next school year for which we must plan.  As a result of all of these factors, the District is projecting a significant, potentially crippling budget shortfall over the next few years, a shortfall that cannot be managed through further faculty reductions and will require taxpayer support in the form of passed Proposition 2½ overrides if we wish to meet our objectives of maintaining our curriculum and adequately managing class size and teacher load.

As a School Committee, we are accountable to our towns to ensure there is appropriate staffing to meet the educational needs of students, while also being careful stewards of taxpayer dollars in light of our current economic circumstances.  We are working to see modest increases in teacher salaries that acknowledge the dedication and excellence of our teachers, and ensure that their overall terms and conditions of employment, which include salary, benefits and professional opportunities, are competitive with those of other high-performing school districts with which we compete for talent.  We believe that moderate growth of our teacher salaries may enable us to invest in restoring some of the faculty positions and curricular breadth that have been lost in recent years, and we believe this investment is imperative in order to sustain Lincoln-Sudbury's excellence.  In summary, we believe that our proposals to the Teachers' Association have appropriately balanced all of these competing factors.

Despite the challenging negotiations over the past months, our teachers have continued to work hard on behalf of our students, offering strong instruction and learning opportunities in the classroom, providing other curricular supports, and leading a wide array of extra-curricular activities and opportunities. Our teachers and staff deserve our full support.  We also believe that, despite our differences at the bargaining table, our teachers will continue to deliver services of a high standard and that our students will continue to receive an excellent education.  We remain hopeful that, with the help of mediation, we will be able to conclude our contract negotiations successfully in the near future.

Thank you for your support - both during the negotiation process as well as in our efforts to meet our budgetary challenges in the upcoming years.

Sudbury Citizen November 02, 2012 at 05:42 PM
LS teachers are the highest paid in the COUNTRY based on hours teaching in the classroom. Let them all quit. Their will be 200 applications for each opening.You should all be lucky you have jobs. 22 million other people don't. They don't get 80% of income for a retirement plan. They don't have a cadillac insurance plan.
Sudbury Citizen November 02, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Use some of that $ 1 million of hidden money to cover that shortfall. Sorry , NO OVERRIDE this year or the next 3. How about a 5% pay cut. That should cover the shortfall and hire a few new teachers.
Edward Stark November 03, 2012 at 12:04 AM
It will take the LS budget years to recover from the damage done by Jack Ryan and Mark Collins. Those two were handing money out like candy all while the SPS teachers were treated like second class citizens. Let's also not forget about all the money that was found stashed in the postage meter last year. When LS figures out how to establish and manage a budget, then I'll start voting for overrides again. Until then they can save their propaganda for somebody else. Here's a thought: consolidate our two redundant schools systems, save roughly $2 million dollars and there you go.
RA2 November 03, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Dear SC, Teacher at LS do not have cadillac health plans, they have GIC comparable HMO health plans. Do they get 80% retirement plans after a lifetime of teaching - yes - because they paid into them and for them. These plans are not paid for thru tax dollars. Now let's look at the other side of the equation. The median income in Sudbury is upwards of 130K. This puts us in the top 10% of American wage earners and the top 1% world wide. We pay the lowest marginal tax rate in recent American history and one of the lowest in the first world. We moved to Sudbury drawn by quality education and now we don't want to pay for it? To use a popular phase the arthmatic does work, at least not for me. I want the best employees and I am willing to pay well to attract, hire and keep them. Sorry but we just disagree.
David Parker November 04, 2012 at 04:13 AM
Actually, I have less education, less experience than a teacher I know from your school and I get paid more in a nearby community. So much for your first claim. Openings at LSRHS usually generate ~10 applicants according to a friend who has sat on hiring committees there, maybe half of them have what it takes to deliver the instruction your community has come to expect. The 80% retirement plan is funded entirely by working teachers, 11% percent of my salary goes into this system to pay retirees. YOU pay nothing to them. What's a "Cadillac" insurance plan? The last I heard LSRHS teachers were forced on to a GIC like plan with high copays and deductibles. You really don't have any idea about what you are talking about. I am willing to bet even you know that.
Maryland Transplant November 04, 2012 at 02:57 PM
My son is a junior at LS. His teachers have been excellent. I think we should pay them accordingly! I hope the School Committee can give them a slight pay raise in their new contract.
Tch_yr_kids November 04, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Mr. Sudbury Citizen, you have your "facts" wrong. LS teachers are not the 'highest paid in the COUNTRY for the amount of time worked" as you claimed. They are not even the highest paid in the STATE. Right next door at Concord-Carlise Regional you will find a higher salary for a 4 class load. As for the highest in the country check out the AVERAGE salaries in Long Island: http://longisland.newsday.com/schools/rankings.php?id=pay
Thrice Rusty November 04, 2012 at 07:45 PM
RA2 are you Rami Alwan by any chance? If so aren't you the guy who lied about your raise's last year at a public forum? If you're not Rami Alwan I will take you're above post into consideration when making my future decision in regard to an override. If you are Rami Alwan I will disregard it as nonsense after the comment you made last year. Sorry once a liar, always a liar.
oldsole November 04, 2012 at 11:51 PM
ThriceRusty I do not know who RA2 is and neither do you, so to take this as an opportunity to randomly attack people is inappropriate. Last week, I saw a post attacking Selectman O'Brien's son for absolutely know reason. The Sudbury Public School sends out warnings and concerns that bullying is endemic in our schools. Could that be because some children have such good role models at home? This is an open watering hole. Feel free to swim here, just don't pollute it.
David Parker November 05, 2012 at 02:38 AM
A 5% pay cut sounds like the best deal the LSRHS teachers have been offered in a long time. OK, I know you hate facts, but here are something I am certain you haven't figured. The enrollment at LSRHS has increased 28.9% in the last 10 years, the number of faculty has actually reduced .9% that is a virtual 29.8% reduction in pay for delivering the same amount of instruction. Base pay at LSRHS has increase 28.1% over the same period of time and the COLA has increased 28.9% that's another .8% pay cut. So over the last 10 years if you consider all the factors (and facts) the faculty has suffered a 30.7% reduction in their pay while the instruction they deliver has earned them higher and higher ranking nationally. So again a 5% pay cut mean a 25.7% raise in base pay. I am willing to bet the faculty's negotiators will shake your hand on that tomorrow.
Thrice Rusty November 05, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Not sure I attacked anyone. All is asked is if Rami Alwan is RA2 and then pointed out that Rami lied about his raises last year which is known fact that he did. Facts are not attacks oldsole. Who's attacking who now? What type of role model are you?
Thrice Rusty November 05, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Hey oldsole just curious what sort of example you think our housing department employee set when she drove blasted on way to her THIRD OUI? Remember the lady who gave her social security card when the police officer asked for her license? What kind of role model is she? I guess our town manager and her boss our town planner think she's a good one seeing that they not only let her keep her job but hired two more employees to help drive her around.
ron darden November 05, 2012 at 02:25 PM
First, I believe our teachers are by and large heroic and deserve to be paid well. But... RA2 - "gic comparable" ??? - this by finance woman who was chair of consortium that LS chose and said would only save a few jundred K (when SPS saved millions - same woman who was hiding money in postal meter) ...LS NEEDS TO SWITCH TO GIC Parker - Your own Union proves your words are FALSE - "The 80% retirement plan is funded entirely by working teachers, 11% percent of my salary goes into this system to pay retirees. YOU pay nothing to them" From MASS TEACHERS ASSOC: Although teachers are paying most of the costs of their own retirement, the employer – in this case the Commonwealth – state’s share of the total normal cost of retirement for all teachers, on average, is slightly less than 2 percent of the teachers’ salaries... MOST IMPORTANT: "If investment returns do not live up to projections, the Commonwealth must make up the difference." CAN YOU SAY UNFUNDED PENSION AND HEALTH LIBILITIES to the tune of 30 billion??? MTA RESPONSE - Today’s teachers did not cause the problem and should not be penalized in order to solve it. As the Special Commission concluded, “In all cases, the burden of amortizing the unfunded liability from past service should be spread broadly among TAXPAYERS and not borne by today’s public employees.” BOTTOM LINE, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT ALL FACTORS, PAY RAISES MUST BE HELD TO AN ABSOLUTE MINIMUM.
ron darden November 05, 2012 at 02:26 PM
JJoseph November 05, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Unfortunately the problem at LS is bigger than O'Brien. Yes, O'Brien kicked Haarde out and managed to waste our money on his own. But, the hiding money in postage meters and then asking for overrides is a huge problem with the integrity of the financial condition of LS. Where are the audits? If I remember four or five years ago it was bare bones according to the school committee. The union president says he got a $200 raise when it was closer to $3,000 raise. Unfortunately, when you can't believe or trust the people who manage the organization the funding comes to a halt.
Maryland Transplant November 05, 2012 at 05:30 PM
I know I'm new in the community, but isn't paying for quality teaching important? Civilization isn't free. There are things we can do to dedicate more of our earnings for education. I'm only buying my daughter one pair of UGGS this winter, for example.
JJoseph November 05, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Maryland, Nobody is arguing paying for a quality teaching is not importatnt. However, are you aware that LS teachers only teach 4 classes per day? Most other schools teach 5. Are you aware we support 2 superintendents and staff? We have 3 HR, payroll, IT, groundskeeping etc.. ( Lincoln/Sudbury , Sudbury Public Schools , Town of Sudbury) Simply going to 5 classes per day and having only 1 superintendent and staff would save us millions of dollars. Unfortunately, our Town leaders will not get this done. Lastly, are you aware it costs the students $365 to park at the school? Are you aware the students have to pay $100 to use the fitness center? Are you aware there is a mandtory "activity fee"? Are you aware that staff at LS that live outside of Lincoln or Sudbury can have their children attend the Sudbury systems for FREE. Are you aware that Lincoln has not been paying their fair share of costs which was determined by a court of law and yet Sudbury is not pursuing getting that money back. Welcome to Sudbury.
David Parker November 05, 2012 at 11:09 PM
GIC-comparable means similar premium costs and similar copays/deductibles for employees as the GIC. By the new state law in order to go onto GIC, the premium savings has to be better than 5.5% based on a migration of employees onto the most popular GIC plan (Tufts Navigator plan). If they went with a GIC-comparable insurance rather than GIC, it is because the plans it offered was within the threshold of savings and it was considered cost effective. The law is pretty clear about this. So why did Sudbury save more? Simply there are many more employees on Sudbury's system to contribute to the total savings: the elementary schools, middle school, and police and fire depts. As for the mismanagement from the former business manager, she is gone. Why should the teachers have to pick up the tab for her incompetence? Regarding teacher pensions, I concede the POSSIBLE 2% by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. But when I said "you" pay nothing I was referring to the additional burden on the Sudbury taxpayers. By the way, any money teachers contributed to social security before they became a teacher, they will never receive. YOU get that money. So perhaps we call it a draw?
David Parker November 05, 2012 at 11:19 PM
JJoseph, Aren't all those fees in place because past overrides failed and yet the town still wanted the same services? Most school systems allow their teacher's kids to attend as a benefit. That is not unusual. Also if it is like it is in my district, teachers to have to apply for their kids to attend. As for teaching 5 classes vs. 4, LSRHS teachers teach 4 of 7 classes. Those districts who teach 5, teach 5 of 8 classes. If LSRHS were to go to 5 of 7 classes, it would be well above the amount of classroom contact time than other districts in the Commonwealth and the country. If you look at the highest ranked countries in the world for education (like Finland), they have under 50% classroom contact time. LSRHS has 57.14%. Teachers who teach 5 of 8 classes have 62.50%. This may contribute to why LSRHS ranks so high amongst schools in this country.
Tch_yr_kids November 05, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Mr. JJoseph, Wasn't the idea of consolidating the LS District with Sudbury K-8 looked at some years ago? And rejected as saving little, if anything as I recall. One grounds keeping staff? So one staff would service the buildings and grounds for all of the school campuses? Lay off who and have who where exactly to fix and keep the places running? One Superintendent? Then the high school would have to hire a Principal, at around the same cost as the current S/P, no savings there. IT? Do you expect the same amount of staff to service all of the Sudbury schools AND LS? As to $100 fitness center fees, much less than the annual fee at private clubs. Most towns charge athletic fees, or have no sports altogether. Pick one or the other. Activity fees are not mandatory, charged ONLY if a student participates and ONCE a year as a flat fee, no matter how many activities. Those fees allow your tax dollars to go to paying for teachers and keeping a functional building and keeping kids busy with worthwhile activities rather than getting into trouble in a town with not much else to do. Sorry but your math, and solutions are simplistic and assume that 'streamlining' costs will save millions, when in fact it would hardly save anything at all. So the wise town leaders studied your idea and found it to be something that would realize little to zero savings. That's why they 'refused' to adopt it. Bad idea that failed. Not quite the same as a factory that can be shut down and moved overseas.
ron darden November 06, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Parker: "GIC comparable...within the threhold" - based on the analysis by former finance director who was chair of insurance consortium that LS chose!!!. LS has refused to an independent audit. Taxpayers do not trust LS. Mass Teachers and other public employees who work in the private sector for at least 40 quarters or who outlive a spouse who was receiving Social Security benefits are eligible for Social Security retirement or spousal benefits. Yes, those benefits may be reduced due to GPO/WEP. But when asked to supply data on members receiving Social Security benefits the MTA and other public unions have refused citing privacy laws. The real indicator as to the cost/benefits of teacher pensions: The MTA has rejected out of hand proposals to put teachers into Social Security and swap pensions for a typical private sector 401K plan where state would contribute 3% similar to major corps. Finally real problem with Teacher pensions is unfunded liabilites, which the taxpayer must ultimaely pay. But the teachers refuse to acknowledge this burden in negotiations. By the way, according to MTA the average Mass teacher contributes 9.74% salary to pension and the state 2%, or approx 20%...Hardly insignifcant, especailly when estimates to make up the underfunding indicate the teachers ought to be paying closer to 14% of their salary.
ron darden November 06, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Tch Kids: Funny how the status quo line is that the BRTF proposals would save little, but each and every time one of the proposals gets implemented - only after much hand wringing and pulling teeth - the result has been significant savings Da Nile aint just a river in Egypt!
JJoseph November 06, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Blah blah blah, Why do 3 payroll staffs need to report time to the service provider? Why can't we share lawn mowers? Why do we need 2 assistant supt. in the schools? Why do we need 3 finance directors? Sudbury, the land of the liberals.
JJoseph November 06, 2012 at 01:02 AM
I have children in SPS and LS, and to tell you the truth their education is not impacted one single bit if we eliminate redundant overhead staff in payroll, HR, IT etc... The money should be spent on teachers in the classroom and not on multiple incompetent finance directors.
oldsole November 06, 2012 at 03:50 AM
LS and the town share equipment every snow storm and many town events. 2 asst. supt. There is one at SPS and none at LS where is the second one? Do you really believe that one individual could run the books all three cost centers without a staff. No difference in head count or cost there. Pretty thin pickin's
oldsole November 06, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Just to set the record straight. LS underwent an independent audit this past summer. Nothing illegal or questionable was found. While I agree the postage meter reflects a level of incompetence of an employee who is no longer there, it doesn't really rise to the level of fraud. It doesn't matter how many quarters a Mass Teacher has worked in the private sector. They are EITHER Teacher's retirement or SS not both. They cannot double dip. State Law you can look it up.
ron darden November 06, 2012 at 09:09 AM
oldsole: The misinformation you spread, if representative of the teachers union, contributes to voter mistrust Direct from the Mass Teachers Association: Mass Teachers and other public employees who work in the private sector for at least 40 quarters or who outlive a spouse who was receiving Social Security benefits are eligible for Social Security retirement or spousal benefits. In the past many teachers worked summer jobs and therefore collect Social Security. Now that teachers salaries are high, relative to their part time work as compared to the private sector (summers, winter and spring vacays, etc off), the absolute need for a 2nd job is not there. This is not to say that teachers dont earn their pay. But the facts are that MA teachers can and do receive SS. When you say Mass is a “non-Social Security” state what this means is that public employees do not pay into Social Security & therefore do not earn any Social Security “credits” in their jobs as public employees. But, again, teachers may earn Social Security credits through other private employment, which, yes, may be reduced due to GPO/WEP. But why wont the MTA release statistics on MASS teachers collecting SS? MTA answer is privacy laws, but negotiators have asked for aggregate numbers, which would protect individual teachers. Instead voters are fed, as represented by your comments, half truths, misinformation and the propaganda line that MA teachers do not get Social Security


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