Fitchburg teachers reach contract pact - Sentinel & Enterprise

The School Committee approved a three-year contract agreement with the teachers' union that will cost the district approximately $365,954 in raises. Full Story
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vote the bums out

Lowell, MA

#1 Dec 21, 2010
'teachers at the top step will see a yearly increase according to a teacher's degree and years of service in the district'

no merit/performance pay increases??

Anthony Gallo wins one from the grave..
In Time

Fitchburg, MA

#2 Dec 21, 2010
Unions don't base pay on performance or merit. The choose to promote and celebrate mediocrity instead. I'm glad these guys reached an agreement though. In comparison to other neighbor districts this seems to work.
Paul Harvey

Berlin, CT

#3 Dec 21, 2010
Where's the "rest of the story"? There's so many missing components to this story to get the whole truth out there. What happens to the teachers in the so-called eliminated steps 0,1,2,3? Do they all get bumped up to the new step 1? Do all the people get bumped up a step in between the bottom and the top? What is the effect in additional costs over the course of the ENTIRE contract through 2012? What percentage increase was negotiated for the third year of the contract?
Voter

Bedford, MA

#4 Dec 21, 2010
vote the bums out wrote:
'teachers at the top step will see a yearly increase according to a teacher's degree and years of service in the district'
no merit/performance pay increases??
Anthony Gallo wins one from the grave..
Not so fast...

http://www.myfoxboston.com/dpp/news/local/mas...

It's a start.
Just Facts

United States

#5 Dec 21, 2010
The starting salaries were bumped up $6,000 instead, so we are paying the teachers their step raises right from day one. It used to be that they would get the step raises over time, but now they get it right at the beginning.

$ 42,000 per year isn't a bad starting salary coming right out of college for a job that is the equivilent of working about 10 months a year.
paras

Chelsea, MA

#6 Dec 21, 2010
Whjat about the para professional's?
Paul Harvey

Berlin, CT

#7 Dec 21, 2010
So do the teachers in the previous step 4 and up get no raise? Were the Steps adjusted upward from the new step 1 for teachers in the middle steps? Were there cost of living raises in ANY of the years of the new contract? Were there any concessions by the teachers? Health care contribution changes?
The Insider

Hyannis, MA

#8 Dec 21, 2010
Nice contract but I know the city stated they will never offer early retirement again because they actually loose money over the lifespan of a retired employees pensions. Sure they will be replaced with lower entry level teacher's salaries and it is under the federal grants but when the grants run out the city looses money. Most departments have lowered their starting salaries so they can hire more employees. If the teachers lowered their starting salaries they could of possibly replaced the 16 retirements with 18-20 newbies. But I am sure the federal grants placed a number on how many new teachers they could hire. The teachers eliminated the step raises in order for the grants to pay the salaries as if they were getting the step raises anyways. I feel bad for the custodians though. they should apply to Fitchburg State University. They can make $40,000 to $45,000 as a Maintainer 1 or 2. The 16 retiring are the ones getting the best deal because they are getting out early but remember the grants do not pickup their tab which proved to be costly the last time the city did this. The city will pay for their early departures for many years to come. The grants do not save them that much money to cover them 20-30 years from now and that is how long it takes to make up the money lost for the 5 years or more they are getting to achieve their maximum age and/or time to receive 80% of their pension.

So in private sector language, they are keeping the same number of teachers at the same salary with small increases for education all paid for by the feds. The teachers close to retirement are getting a few years added on as a buyout so they can apply the grants to hire lower paid teachers. the new teachers hired will get a higher starting salary than those that were hired a few years ago because the feds will pay for it.
Steve

Fitchburg, MA

#9 Dec 21, 2010
The only good thing here is that perhaps the schools can get rid of some of the dead weight sitting at the top of the salary scale.
Just Facts

United States

#10 Dec 21, 2010
As usual, the paraprofessionals (demeaning term) are treated within the negotiations in the same way they are typically treated by the teachers...they are not treated very well. Teachers have made it clear on many occassions that paraprofessionals are expendable because they are not licensed teachers.

Teachers and administrators (teachers that have moed up the salary ladder) neglect to even use the term "paraprofessionals", they just call them paras, like they are some kind of pet or animal.

It may be possible that they are not even covered by the union and must negotiate in the same manner that the rest of us do, on a one to one basis with whomever we must negotiate.

In any case, the paraprofessionals are treated as expendable...not a surprise to hear they were not in any of the negotiations.
The Burg

Fitchburg, MA

#11 Dec 21, 2010
Just Facts wrote:
The starting salaries were bumped up $6,000 instead, so we are paying the teachers their step raises right from day one. It used to be that they would get the step raises over time, but now they get it right at the beginning.
$ 42,000 per year isn't a bad starting salary coming right out of college for a job that is the equivilent of working about 10 months a year.
Seems fairly decent. You can't realistically run a home off 50k a year, which is what this pay translates to. It doesn't go up a whole heck of a lot over the course of a lifetime, either. But it's an improvement and to be able successfully negotiate a deal is very positive.

It's a noble profession and I applaud anyone willing to be an educator. Out of highschooI I got into organized labor trades and earned double that salary (20 years ago) and could easily run my household with it. At the same time, although I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from what I've accomplished over the years, being in a classroom every day and working with children must be a real challenge and an extraordinary experience.
Jim

Fitchburg, MA

#12 Dec 21, 2010
Typical, during good times they get unbelievable contracts, and during bad times they get a great contract.

So much for for trying to reduce the budget , expect the school department to cut books and other resources and push more students out due to school choice.
Voter

Bedford, MA

#13 Dec 21, 2010
The Burg wrote:
<quoted text>
Seems fairly decent. You can't realistically run a home off 50k a year, which is what this pay translates to. It doesn't go up a whole heck of a lot over the course of a lifetime, either. But it's an improvement and to be able successfully negotiate a deal is very positive.
It's a noble profession and I applaud anyone willing to be an educator. Out of highschooI I got into organized labor trades and earned double that salary (20 years ago) and could easily run my household with it. At the same time, although I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from what I've accomplished over the years, being in a classroom every day and working with children must be a real challenge and an extraordinary experience.
Since when is owning a home an entitlement? Not everyone gets to partake in homeownership. We are coming out of a housing market that was crushed because our politicians wanted everyone to be a homeowner and live beyond their means. Now our society is paying for it. Look at how many foreclosures there are in Fitchburg alone. How many lives were ruined because people made poor decisions with what little money they had chasing the "dream" of being a home owner.
fed up

Leominster, MA

#14 Dec 21, 2010
lookk out parents because your child will be walking to school next year to help support this increase. FPS has sent out a "how does your child get to school" with a map and a large circle in it. If you are within that circle be sure that bussing will be eliminated. FPS is facing a large deficit and this raise only increases the amount the school must make up and transportation is not supported through chapter 70 or the circuit breaker it is Non net school spending and therefore non refundable by the state. It comes out of your local taxes. ONe way to close the budget is to limit transportation and if you think those surveys or questionnaires are just a friendly converstation, then get your head out of the sand and wake up. They are already determining where and when and who will be riding a bus next year. Good luck to all of you who live in Fitchburg next year. It is going to be a tough one and I don't know if the taxpayers have an appetite to pick up a 20% debt for Crocker Elementary either. You are just getting to some sort of stability and to pick up that debt, I don't know if there is an appetite for the elected officials to do that and there will probably be a prop 2 1/2 override proposal to pay for the upgrades at Crocker. It sounds great until you go to the voters.
The Burg

Fitchburg, MA

#15 Dec 21, 2010
Voter wrote:
<quoted text>
Since when is owning a home an entitlement? Not everyone gets to partake in homeownership. We are coming out of a housing market that was crushed because our politicians wanted everyone to be a homeowner and live beyond their means. Now our society is paying for it. Look at how many foreclosures there are in Fitchburg alone. How many lives were ruined because people made poor decisions with what little money they had chasing the "dream" of being a home owner.
Running a household has nothing to do with home ownership.
The Insider

Hyannis, MA

#16 Dec 21, 2010
I guess some posters don't get it. The feds are picking up the tab for everything in the contract. Contracts are good for 3 years. This contract is retroactive to last year. The federal grants are good for 2 years or otherwise the rest of this contract. The teachers retiring early will allow the federal grant to hire new teachers that they would have to hire within 2-3 years anyways so this way the feds will pay and not the city. The new teachers would have needed to receive the step increases payed for by the city. So the teachers were smart to raise the starting salary and let the feds pick up the tab. The new teachers cannot complain because they will be under this new contract and have already received their step increases that they wouldn't have gotten if they were hired in 2-3 years because there is no city money.

Again, this is good for the city, we are not paying for anything except the early retirement pension that may catch up with us if the retirees outlive their pension. The city hopes that retirees do not live too long or else the pension system starts to hurt the funding of itself. This is the same as social security right now. The city is worried about tomorrow, next year and 3 years from now. They are not worried about 20-30 years from now.
Sigh

Fitchburg, MA

#17 Dec 21, 2010
The Insider wrote:
I guess some posters don't get it. The feds are picking up the tab for everything in the contract. Contracts are good for 3 years. This contract is retroactive to last year. The federal grants are good for 2 years or otherwise the rest of this contract. The teachers retiring early will allow the federal grant to hire new teachers that they would have to hire within 2-3 years anyways so this way the feds will pay and not the city. The new teachers would have needed to receive the step increases payed for by the city. So the teachers were smart to raise the starting salary and let the feds pick up the tab. The new teachers cannot complain because they will be under this new contract and have already received their step increases that they wouldn't have gotten if they were hired in 2-3 years because there is no city money.
Again, this is good for the city, we are not paying for anything except the early retirement pension that may catch up with us if the retirees outlive their pension. The city hopes that retirees do not live too long or else the pension system starts to hurt the funding of itself. This is the same as social security right now. The city is worried about tomorrow, next year and 3 years from now. They are not worried about 20-30 years from now.
Thank you.
I think people here are just in the custom of complaining.
Finally good to have another person see this for what it is.
A good negotiation where everyone wins.
Voter

Bedford, MA

#18 Dec 21, 2010
The Burg wrote:
<quoted text>
Running a household has nothing to do with home ownership.
I took you literally when you said "You can't realistically run a home off 50k a year, which is what this pay translates to."

A household most certainly can be run on $50K a year. There are more people running a household on less than $50K in Fitchburg then there are above that line.

http://www.city-data.com/city/Fitchburg-Massa...
Just Facts

United States

#19 Dec 21, 2010
The Burg wrote:
<quoted text>
Running a household has nothing to do with home ownership.
What about all of the other people that work at jobs that don't even come close to earning $ 50,000 a year? Are you going to say it is ok for them to struggle? Is it the responsibility of the general public through their taxes to make sure that every person earns a wage that allows them the same comforts as everyone else? or is the person's responsibility to learn and work toward improving what they need to improve to get somewhere in life?
Just Facts

United States

#20 Dec 21, 2010
The Insider wrote:
I guess some posters don't get it. The feds are picking up the tab for everything in the contract. Contracts are good for 3 years. This contract is retroactive to last year. The federal grants are good for 2 years or otherwise the rest of this contract. The teachers retiring early will allow the federal grant to hire new teachers that they would have to hire within 2-3 years anyways so this way the feds will pay and not the city. The new teachers would have needed to receive the step increases payed for by the city. So the teachers were smart to raise the starting salary and let the feds pick up the tab. The new teachers cannot complain because they will be under this new contract and have already received their step increases that they wouldn't have gotten if they were hired in 2-3 years because there is no city money.
Again, this is good for the city, we are not paying for anything except the early retirement pension that may catch up with us if the retirees outlive their pension. The city hopes that retirees do not live too long or else the pension system starts to hurt the funding of itself. This is the same as social security right now. The city is worried about tomorrow, next year and 3 years from now. They are not worried about 20-30 years from now.
Short term management of funding is what consistently gets us into trouble. How can you agree this is a good idea?

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