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New Contract

Free Press - "Melrose Public Schools teachers will receive 1 percent annual salary increases under a new three-year collective bargaining agreement."

Where have I heard this before? Read the article and see what other increases were negotiated. There's a increase on the base. It's NOT a 1% annual salary increase.

No, I'm not begrudging the teachers a raise - I just wish the media would report the facts and not just the spin releases from City Hall designed to make the increases look smaller than they are.

Re: New Contract

The Free Press should be embarrassed! Why can't the press be honest with us and do some independent probing of the facts - needless to say, it will take Gerry Mroz to tell us all what the teacher agreement actually says and what the actual increase they will be getting each year of the 3 year contract. Our school committee and Mayor are too dishonest to be truthful to the residents of this city,

Re: New Contract

Just read the Free Press article on the recent teacher union contract with the city. Unlike in previous years, there is no total cost to the city for the 3 year contract listed in the article. To the Free Press and especially Mr. Leibowitz - do your friggin job and do some thorough questioning of the so called facts instead of taking the written info from Taymore!

The annual salary increase should include not only the 1% COLA but also increases in both the lanes and step increases since they are added to the salary and retirement benefits of teachers. By NOT including these dollars - gives a false salary increase numbers for teachers just as the phony percent increases stated for teachers noted in the article since 2009.

Also, another big change is that if teachers remain in school after normal working hours by 27 hours, they are entitled to more pay. The last contract stated more than 40 years. I can see doing this for hourly wage people, but we are talking about educational professionals! Again this will cost the school system more money each year - and this cost should be added to the total cost of the contract based on previous years.

One final comment on the contract - teachers start their day 13 minutes later than in previous years - however, they need to stay in school an additional 4 minutes longer! So the contract allow teachers to work less time in school - wow - what a benefit to the students and the district!

Absent from the contract - based on the article is any performance standards required for teachers to get their lane or steps increase - Again - no accountability for the teachers and certainly none for our superintendent! Both good and poor teachers get their salary and lane/step increases. What kind of an incentive is this for teachers? The more things change - the more they remain the same.

I wonder how long it will take to get the all the tables of the lane and step increases explaining the true cost of this contract to the city? We certainly can't depend on the press to get this information - they have shown themselves incapable of getting this information or inquiring about the true facts of these contracts.

Re: New Contract

For those of us who have been watching this and trying to find a draft contract online, there has been zero accountability to the public who now has to pay for this contract. 3 years ago Mrs. Kourkoumelis took a strong stand and refused (three times, if memory serves) to vote for a teacher's contract for which there was no document to review prior, nothing, only Dolan's ridiculous public statement that the new contract was "99% like the old one"! She talked about how most people take more time reviewing their options for which kind of breakfast cereal to buy than this committee has taken reviewing the major taxpayer expenditure for the whole community for the next three years, that no one would buy a car or a house without reading the contract, and yet this committee hadn't even seen a shred of the wording or terms but was willing to rubber-stamp whatever the negotiating team (Dolan, Driscoll & Taymore) wanted. Looks like this has happened again, because there was no evidence of anything that this school committee was voting on. If so, a draft should have been included in the packet for all to see, especially since it had already been approved by the union. These people are utterly shameless. Will bet you anything that there is still no actual document, and that that set of loser attorneys the district employs won't come up with anything viewable for months, that would take a grueling years-long public records request battle that wouldn't be fulfilled honorably or legally, and that taxpayers won't see a bill for until next year, just to further confound any kind of actual transparency process. The teacher's union is also to blame since they are not at all accountable and have a horrible history here, starting with the most recent two prior presidents their body elected as its leaders: Ted Mateus and Naomi Baline.

This is the last contract:

This is the Melrose teacher's union site, with zero relevant information for the public on their own contract:
Apparently they voted to approve this new contract on May 31.

Oh, noted that the feathers are still on the logo on this local site.
By contrast to this amateur-hour Melrose teacher's union site, here's one that actually does provide transparency:

Melrose Public Schools are a disgrace. Bottom line, that's all that can be said. When the full terms of this new contract are finally revealed, it can be guaranteed that the "interests of teaching and learning" (Driscoll's nauseating tag line for everything offensive she wants to sugarcoat) will be the sham that they are.

Re: New Contract

Every time the school committee negotiates a teachers contract, the students and families lose something. Last time, we lost parent teacher conferences. We used to be able to go in a meet with all our children's teachers twice a year. This changed to teacher "office hours", of which many teachers never notified us of. This past spring, only two of my children's teachers even offered "office hours" for conferences, now they don't even bother. And apparently, the guidance office, which used to scheduled conferences on conference night, no longer offers them at all....nor do they offer office hours for parent conferences.

There was also supposedly language in the last contact that would require teachers to use ASPEN. The teachers just ignore it, and there are no consequences.

The teachers have their union working for them, making sure they get more for doing less. But who is advocating for the students?

Re: New Contract

Most people have no idea how public employee contracts are structured. This one includes a 1% increase on what's called "the base". Every employee has a base rate depending on their classification, or "step". For example, the base salary for teachers with a bachelor’s degree and five years of experience was $52,905 in 2015. I have no idea what it is in 2016, but whatever that rate is, it will increase 1%, and those numbers don't reflect anything else but that. To get a true salary figure for each employee, and to know what the actual "average salary increase" for each employee is, you have to know each and every other payment that each employee gets, like increases in longevity payments, stipends for teacher leaders, compensation increases of 1 percent for teachers who lead extracurricular activities, etc., but one thing it is NOT is a 1% increase.

If you want to get a ballpark idea of what the actual increase across the board is, you must compare the salaries and wages line from the prior budget to that in the current budget, and even that doesn't get you an accurate figure, because some of the payments they get are hidden in other line items. Additionally, you are not allowed to include "anticipated contractual increases" in a budget. Unless this deal was signed before the budget was finalized, the city budget just approved does not include ANY of these increases - that's why they waited until now to announce the new contract. All these increases will have to be paid from funds either from other sources, or from transfers from other line items.

I also do not begrudge giving the teachers a raise. They are underpaid, but glossing over the actual figures by saying it's a 1% increase is typical of the administration's policy of concealing real numbers from the public. Wouldn't it be nice if the media would actually do the research and get the real numbers, instead of passing on the fake numbers handed out by the administration? Fortunately, as evidenced by the crushing defeat of the override, more people than not now understand they are being deceived.

Re: New Contract

"Wouldn't it be nice if the media would actually do the research and get the real numbers, instead of passing on the fake numbers handed out by the administration? Fortunately, as evidenced by the crushing defeat of the override, more people than not now understand they are being deceived."

Further, wouldn't it be nice if this Melrose public would respect and honor the enormous contributions of those like Gerry Mroz, who takes the times to research and present to the public in factual and understandable terms all that the School Committee and Mayor continually work to conceal from the public? Wouldn't it be nice if instead of contempt and mockery, this public would actually treat such an incredibly generous and hard-working citizen--fighting for Everyone's Kids--with legitimacy and respect? Wouldn't it be nice if the public institutions like the BOA and SC and the ed foundation (MEF) acted responsibly and understood their legal roles in serving the public?

Instead it's now a dependable fact that our public bodies will act with further contempt and secrecy, and citizens will continue to shield themselves with their busy schedules, fear of retribution, 5-minute faux outrage, and general self-absorbed preoccupation, content to allow only a superficial presentation (never a real dialogue) about the critical issues confronting Melrose.