Preliminary Algonquin budget shows 6% increase

by susan on January 19, 2012

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The Regional School Committee met last night to review preliminary budget numbers for Algonquin. Superintendent Charles Gobron told the committee that due to a loss of one-time federal funds and increasing operational costs, the school budget is projected to increase by nearly 6% next year.

Reports Northborough Patch:

“Three years of almost level funding caused little increase in the base,” said Gobron. “The elimination of these substantial one time stimulus grants over the past years, plus increased needs in the area of special education, increased class size and rising health insurance have all affected the budget.”

The preliminary budget came in at $18,671,724, up from $17,619,217 last year. The Algonquin budget is funded jointly between Northborough and Southborough. No word yet on what Southborough’s share of the pie will be.

Earlier this month, Gobron presented the K-8 budget for Southborough. While also facing the loss of federal stimulus money and rising operational costs, the preliminary K-8 budget came in at only a 0.9% increase.

You can read more about the Algonquin budget in this article by Northborough Patch.

{ 23 comments }

1 Neil Rossen January 20, 2012 at 8:59 AM

Just vote NO.

2 Al Hamilton January 20, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Let’s be clear about the reason for the increase. The average teacher at Algonquin will get about a 7% raise next year. Just as they have for years.

You may or may not think this is appropriate but that is where the money is going.

3 John Kendall January 20, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Well Al…..I believe that the teachers are finally paying more for health insurance, as the other unions have always done. But the teachers need to cover the insurance increase sooo……..They seem to have the best union representation in town because they always get what they want.

4 Al Hamilton January 20, 2012 at 3:27 PM

The teacher union makes the Teamsters look like kittens

5 Townie January 21, 2012 at 7:57 AM

If I want a $1 or more an hour raise I have to work at 150%. What ever happend to working for your raise? Imagine if they had to prove they were deserving of a 7% raise, I bet our student’s MCAS scores would be in the top ten. My 2 cents

6 Helen January 20, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Maybe we won’t have the increase? This is from today’s Boston Globe:

” Patrick administration promises $5.2 billion in local aid, including $145 million jump in spending for local school districts

The Patrick administration today said it wants to send $5.2 billion in local aid to Massachusetts cities and towns in the next fiscal year, including a $145 million increase in funding for local school districts.

The bulk of the local aid plan — $4.1 billion — would be sent to municipalities in so-called Chapter 70 monies that provide financial support for public education, according to a summary released by the administration.

That total, the administration said, is $145 million more than was provided in the current state budget, and also represents the highest level of state aid to local school districts in state history.

However, the overall local aid spending $5.2 billion is equal to the money the state’s 351 cities and towns received last year, the administration said.”

7 John Boiardi January 21, 2012 at 6:58 PM

Comment

Now we have to see if Dr Gabron reduces his budget projection/request based on the additional school aid coming from the state. Hopefully he won’t use the additional state aid to reduce cuts that were planned.

8 Neil Rossen January 20, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Who actually approves or supports the preposterous sequential 7% increases for teachers? What is the role of the School Committee? Are they simply bystanders or are they supporters of the union? Please clarify.

9 Resident January 20, 2012 at 8:49 PM

It has nothing to do with the strength of the union. The school committee and superintendant do not negotiate in the town’s best interest.

Prime example. Today in the Metrowest, headline: “Hopkinton schools face tough budget decisions”

Hopkinton Superintendant stated “he faced tough choices in crafting his recommendations: cut services, ask local taxpayers for an even larger budget increase or raise revenues.”

Have we ever heard anything like this from our school committee or superintendant?

10 John Boiardi January 21, 2012 at 8:10 AM

You are absolutely right. In fact the SC was secretive about the lucrative contract they negotiated.

11 Jessica Rosenthal January 21, 2012 at 1:16 AM

Hello everyone,

Just to clarify – where is everyone getting the information that Algonquin teachers are getting a 7% increase next year and have for years? Is this just a rumor or do you have actual proof? According to the Algonquin Regional teachers’ contract, valid 2011-2014, the exact pay scale with percent increases is shown in Article XII, Section 1. According to the contract, teachers in years 0-10 received a total of 1% increase this school year (though it was broken up in an interesting way…but the nitty gritty details of it don’t play a huge role here). Teachers in years 11+ received a 1.7% increase. For school year 2012-2013, all teachers receive a 1.25% increase, and for school year 2013-2014, all teachers receive a 1.55% increase. So in summary, teachers in their first 10 years of teaching receive a total 3.8% increase over a three year period, and teachers who have been teaching 11 years or longer receive a total of 4.5% increase over a three year period. The teachers’ contract, along with teachers’ pay, is available to the public since teachers at Algonquin (and all other public schools) are public employees. So please everyone, regardless about how you feel about the proposed school budget, unions, and teachers, I encourage you to check your facts before you react.

12 Frank Crowell January 21, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Please post the contract since you are referencing it. I am sure there is more to the story.



The facts before me are clear:



- My tax bill just went up



- It will go up again this year with services being reduced (OK this is not a fact…..yet)

- My salary has neither increased in percentage terms nor in total dollar amount the average teacher in Southborough saw as an increase between 2005 and 2010. In this economy, I do not think I am alone.

http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/profiles/teacher.aspx?orgcode=02760000&orgtypecode=5&leftNavId=815&&fycode=2010



2005 – $52,275

2010 – $71,258


13 Al Hamilton January 21, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Jessica

The state database shows that from FY 2006 to FY 2010 (the most current public data) average teacher salaries at Algonquin rose at a compound annual rate of 7.7% That is the source of my claim.

http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/profiles/teacher.aspx?orgcode=07300000&orgtypecode=5&leftNavId=815&&fycode=2010

The numbers you are citing are only on of three components of salary increases due to teachers. The others are know as steps and lanes. Steps are longevity increases and lanes are for additional levels of credentials. This is where the bulk of teacher raises are created. The number you have cited is merely the inflator that raises the entire structure.

Regretfully, our administrators and elected officials focus on the inflator (which is probably the smallest component). They know that average salaries are increasing at close to the 7% level but have been distracting the public with partial information.

One might believe that 7+% raises are appropriate and desirable, or not but we really should expect our officials to be forthright about what the reality is not try to hide it.

14 Jessica Rosenthal January 21, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Frank –
Here is a link for a copy of the contract (or at least what I can copy and paste):

http://educatorcontracts.doemass.org/file.aspx?fieldno=1&filename=R%3A%5CMass+DOE%5CWebsearch%5CT-NORTHBOROUGH-SOUTHBOROUGH-14.pdf

It loads as a PDF file so hopefully it will work. If not, just google “northboro southboro employee pay scale” and it should come right up (that’s how I found it originally). I believe the links you and Al are posting simply state the average teacher’s salary. I hope you realize that “average” is taking all teachers into account, with teachers who are just beginning their professions combined with teachers who have been in the system for close to 20 or 30 years. So yes, I imagine the average salary would be quite higher than the public might expect and therefore be somewhat surprising and/or shocking. I myself have only been in the workforce for six years now but I am cautiously optimistic that I will be making significantly more in 20 to 30 years from now than my current salary. I am sorry that your own salary has not increased enough for your liking. I am a big believer that at the very least, cost of living raises should be given yearly to capable employees, no matter the profession.

Al – Forgive me. I will admit that I did not take steps into account when citing my percentages, but I do not believe lanes should be considered into the percentages since they are not guaranteed every year, and lane changing does involve at the very least a partial cost to teachers. I am a teacher in another school district and therefore very familiar with steps and lanes. To lane change, it is up to the teacher to decide whether or not to continue his/her education beyond the Masters level (since we are required to obtain a Masters degree within our first five years of teaching), and it is also the responsiblity of the teacher to pay for the expense involved with that decision. (Now, many districts offer tuition reimbursement. While I haven’t looked up this particular section of the Algonquin contract, I’m sure they have it in some form. Please keep in mind however, that tuition reimbursement usually does not cover the total cost, just a partial one).

So now that I’ve shown my true colors, you know where I stand. I am a pro-union teacher and do feel the need to stand up for and protect my fellow brothers and sisters, though we are in different districts. I am early into my career, and therefore nowhere near the “average” salary of the Northboro-Southboro teachers. I will admit I am jealous that someone with my experience and level of education makes more here than I do in my district, but alas, every little penny needs to be bargained and negotiated for when it is time to create a new contract.

Thank you both for your responses,
Jessica

15 Just wondering................. January 29, 2012 at 9:50 AM

Am I reading your post correctly in that you are a little miffed for the following reason; you are expected to get a Masters within 5 years and are also responsible for the cost and then may get only partial reimbursement or none at all? I assume you mention it because you feel it is a little unjust?

There are many fields which require a Masters or beyond and there is
no “reimbursement” offered. The field I worked in required a Masters and no one
ever offered partial or any reimubursement……..and the entry level salary was comparable to the entry level for a teacher. (In addition teachers are presently offered an interest rate break incentive on their school loans if they choose to teach within certain areas…..inner city, special ed, etc).

You mention you are “cautiously optimistic” that you will be making substantially
more money 20-30 years from now………that is if you can make it through any layoffs for as you know, it is the last one in that gets cut first, not the worst performers. That’s a damn long time to only be “optimistic” that you will be making significantly more money than you are now.

16 Neil Rossen January 27, 2012 at 4:58 PM

So, Jessica, I assume that you would be amenable to merit based increases, and if layoffs occur you would object to seniority taking priority irrespective of competence. My understanding is that is what the unions stand against. If not, please correct me. If it so, this is possibly a major reason as to why the USA get less out per $ spent than just about anywhere else on the planet. But then I suppose the “union” has an answer to that too. But then I’m just an abused taxpayer.

17 Frank Crowell January 28, 2012 at 5:27 PM
18 Neil Rossen January 28, 2012 at 7:28 PM

Frank, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been watching Wisconsin throughout and the attendant union thuggery (not to mention thuggery elsewhere). That is an election as critical as the General, IMO. The citizens have the opportunity to vote for failed socialism or a return to an age of personal responsibility. We’ll see.

19 Jessica Rosenthal January 29, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Oh Neil, how I have missed playing verbal tennis with you! You are correct in assuming that the union is strongly against merit pay, and the union does work hard for that tenure status all teachers receive after their first three years of teaching (which we call professional status). Ironically, though I agree with the union in many aspects, you have actually come across the two issues I happen to disagree with the union about. In my personal opinion, I would not be opposed to moving to merit pay, but several things would need to be changed before we did so (for example, making teachers salaries private rather than public, and not having pay be based on student performance, just to name a couple). In terms of layoffs, as someone who came dangerously close to being let go due to budget cuts when I was fairly certain I knew of some professional status teachers who would get to stay even though their evaluations weren’t entirely up to par made me extremely bitter. (Luckily, my district managed to save me at the last second). While I thought I would be singing a different tune once I received professional status, I still find myself disagreeing with it at times. However, I was under the impression that in most professions, it was “last one hired, first one fired” in times of crisis. Is that not correct? I have seen it happen many times to several friends and family members who are not teachers. After all, times have been tough. One thing I have greatly appreciated since becoming more involved in the union is that while I may not necessarily agree with everything the union does, I respect the position they are coming from in why they think it should be done. Now, I do not off the top of my head know the union’s reason for fighting for those issues, but I would be happy to research that and get back to you if you are interested – just let me know. Also, please feel free to look up the new evaluation system going into place for teachers, which should help combat the whole “keep the bad teachers” system that many people think is in place for us now. I believe the Massachusetts Teachers Association website should have a copy of the explanation, though I’m sure googling it will give you many results. You may be pleased with the direction of the evaluation system for teachers.

Hello Just Wondering, thank you for your comment. I apologize for coming across incorrectly. I am not miffed or feel unjust at all. I actually obtained my Masters degree before I started teaching. I was simply stating the requirements for teachers when Al and I were discussing lane changes on the salary scale. And yes, I will remain “cautiously optimistic” about my salary. Times are still tough, who knows what will happen in the future, especially with many people in government and everyday citizens being so anti-teacher. And now that I am in my fifth year of teaching, I am very glad I have managed to hang on to my job and gotten beyond the worries of layoffs due to budget cuts.

Finally Neil, if you are still reading (I apologize for the length!) Remember when I told you I felt hated? I suppose I will change that to “strongly disliked”. Most, but not all, of these posts have made me feel strongly disliked – it appears to me not one person who has commented is pro-teacher. But what do I know? I’m just an abused teacher.

20 Frank Crowell January 30, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Jessica – I wished that you, the BOE and our superintendent would stop characterizing the posts on this board as hate speech towards teachers. In my case it is anti-teacher’s union. I have my reasons and they have to do with the education of my child. Let’s just say that a suggestion was made at a parent/teacher’s conference and the words “that is not allowed under the teacher’s contract” were spoken. 



So please, don’t give me we are hated routine. It is simply to put us on the defensive when in fact all most of us want is fiscal sanity and a BOE that is willing to represent the tax payers properly. This would include answering questions from the BOS and Advisory Committee

21 Just wondering................. January 30, 2012 at 7:52 AM

Jessica, I agree with you and am sympathetic that the teachers feel attacked and abused. Unfortunately, that comes with the terriitory of being part of a public budget and on the public payroll and is exacerbated by also being tied to unions which I believe don’t always have the teachers or students best interests at the top of their list. Unions, in general, are a contentious subject in and of themselves.

The profession is also so open to heated, passionate debate because it is a profession responsible for educating our children which is a huge responsibility
and why, of course, it should be tied to performance and not years in. Both my kids, in different points in their education, have literally experienced what I would chalk up to a “wasted” year because of a sub-par teacher (and I am being generous here). I don’t necessarily blame the teacher but I DO blame the system for keeping them in a classroom.

If it were my kid’s pediatrician I could easily switch practices but it is my kid’s school system and I cannot afford a private education so…….you can understand where the
intense interest comes from on the part of parents and taxpayers….as it should.

Perhaps people just need to be more careful in how they pose their arguments and disagreements and attack the system and not the actual teachers.

22 Al Hamilton January 30, 2012 at 8:18 AM

Jessica

Come on now, no one here is disrespecting teachers, the old “I am just an abused teacher” bit is not worthy of you. Teaching is hard, vital work. My mom was a teacher as was my grandmother and grandfather.

However, your union and the business terms under which you are engaged is fair game for public discussion. You receive the benefit of belonging to the union so you have to take the heat about some of what, in my opinion, are abusive and unsustainable practices.

Your impression that in the private sector layoffs are decided based on length of service is not correct, particularly for professionals. I have participated in layoff decisions in the past (it is unpleasant work) and the decisions are made based on productivity, skill sets, salary, and business needs but, in the end, I have never heard an objection to a person being laid off based on length of service.

The unpleasant fact is that, thanks in no small part to your union, you have received raises far in excess of those provided to senior citizens or the private sector over the last 5 years and you receive a benefits package that has largely disappeared in the private sector. You can check the Bureau of Labor Statistics if you doubt me. This does lead to a certain a hostility.

I have no problem with teachers earning a fair living. Most of us have had our lives influenced for the better by a teacher and would be happy to reward them. However, most of us have also had to interact with indifferent teachers who retired in place years ago who collect their raises like clockwork based on the length of time they warm the seat. If we are going to offer excellent salaries, raises, and benefits we as taxpayers and citizens have the right to expect uniform excellence from all those we employ. Those not up to the standard, regardless of tenure, should seek employment elsewhere.

As for making pay private, sorry, you receive the public funds and transparency is essential in a democracy, you knew this when you started.

And while we are at it you don’t want your pay to be a function of your students performance?!?! Let us be clear improving your students performance is the reason you are employed, the only reason. The assessment system needs to measure the aggregate subject area improvement taking into account the student population you are assigned but you are employed to transfer knowledge and skills to students you instruct and the effectiveness of that transfer should form the majority of your assessment and your opportunity for salary advancement.

23 Neil Rossen January 30, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Thanks Al. You, Frank and others have stood against the use of pejorative language against those who stand against the union actions and insufficiently accountable schools. The use of that language can lead to the type of thuggish union behavior we have witnssed in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the country.

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