Police, fire, DPW, and teacher contracts ratified

Here’s some information you might want before heading into Town Meeting tonight. According to contracts ratified last week and approved by the Board of Selectmen, Southborough police, fire and DPW workers won’t be getting raises this year. They will see pay increases in the remaining two years of their 3-year contracts.

Word is the teacher contract was also ratified last week, but the school committee has yet to meet to vote on it, so full details haven’t been made public. Superintendent Charles Gobron did confirm teachers agreed to increase their health insurance contribution from 20 to 25 percent to match that of municipal employees, and said they would receive a “small cost of living increase” over the next three years in exchange.

The Southborough (K-8) School Committee is expected to meet on Thursday to vote on the teacher contract.

According to their new contract, police officers will receive a 1.5 percent pay increase over the next three years, with no increase coming this year. A 0.5 percent increase will be paid out in the second year of the contract, and a 1 percent increase in the third. The police union gave up their sick day buy-back provision. The contract calls for Quinn funding by the town as an educational incentive.

Firefighters will see a 2.5 percent salary increase over the next three years, with no pay increase this year under their new contract. A 1 percent increase will be awarded in the second year of the contract, with a total of 1.5 percent paid out in the third. New employees will not get a sick day buy-back option.

Like their police and fire counterparts, DPW workers will see no pay increase this year. They will receive a 1 percent increase in the second year of their contract, along with a 1 percent increase at the beginning and again at the end of the third year. Cemetery overtime has been curtailed.

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Al Hamilton
11 years ago

I have reviewed the high level information on the DPW and Fire contracts and they look as if a fair deal for taxpayers was struck.

It is important to know that the Police contract, while holding the line on wages does offer to have the taxpayers of Southborough pick up the State portion of the Quinn funding. This is a substantial increase in our costs. Given that we are paying quite a bit more what can we reasonably expect in return that we do not already have?

As for the school contract that situation is probably hopeless.

Answer
11 years ago

You can expect a non civil service officer to stay with the Police Department and make a career out of the job instead of using Southborough PD as a stepping stone to departments who recognize the benefits of an educated police force.

carrie alpert
11 years ago

the school contract is not hopeless–the town needs to get on the ball and open up the route 9 corridor and revitalize the center of town with business that will actually attract people to the town who want to spend their money.
i am only sorry to the teachers and Dr. Gobron that we could not give him back the middle school specialist and i only hope that Mr. Randell does not get burned out and leave us.
As for John Rooney last night I am not sure why or what public domain you have been to whereby a reference to being addicted to heroin has been used an analogy in terms of a towns budget. I also would have cautioned you against swaggering that your kids went through just the K-8 portion of the school system, that gets people a tad fired up especially when you are sitting on a *stage and we, those who elected you are sitting in the mass seating.
There will never ever ever ever be a time in this town when we do not back our teachers EVER—get that straight. If there needs to be a shift in the way the unions are worked or we need a shift in our towns government then so be it but we the people–the bulk of whom are here because of the schools (its not for the booming industry) we will always support what the children need and we will strive to get it done. As it stands they could use MORE.
and for those of you who were needling the after school programs for which WE pay for shame on you, really. shame on you. how exactly did you grow and develop? and you really need to get your facts straight before Town Meeting when it comes to class size and other line items because we come to WIN.
and one more thing: the schools actually give back so much to the communities in countless ways to many to list this early without coffee and too little sleep.

carrie alpert
11 years ago
Reply to  carrie alpert

i was just informed–set straight by a parent, that the after school program I referred to is in fact at Trottier and is something i was not even aware of which is a bit *concerning* as my child is entering there in the fall and while i do not mind garnering certain information from my contemporaries such as what time 6th grade lunch is, how pick up is at Trottier etc. it would be nice to know the semantics of anything new that will be offered when the kids change schools.

when i railed last night about the after school programs i thought it had to do with RAP and not this particular program and now i have more facts to make an informative decision upon.
i of course feel as though the after school program (it is flag football and then the late bus and then the offering switch– surely those who have done the program can fill in the schedule further) at Trottier is beneficial for a myriad of reasons (exercise, keeps the kids busy, social skills,working parents) I do however feel that as a parent of a child who is at the tail end of 5th grade–and i did go to the Principal Coffee–that this is something that i should have been made aware of that is offered. I had heard rumblings of it but thought it was tied into RAP, as in “there is flag football at Trottier”.
thank you to the parent who emailed me this morning–i know i emailed you back thanking you but it is really appreciated, i would not have known or perhaps someone would have said it to me in a way that would not have fostered learning.

Linda Petry
11 years ago
Reply to  carrie alpert

Each family at Trottier is asked to pay $25 per child as a “user fee”. I think that is what funds those after school programs.

Living the dream
11 years ago
Reply to  Linda Petry

Only partially funds those programs.

Al Hamilton
11 years ago
Reply to  Linda Petry

I believe the issue that was raised last night referred to the K-8 school committees use of tax monies to pay for after school programs. These were specific line items in the budget. I understand how important these types of programs are but I think it is a very legitimate question to ask if that is part of the core educational mission of the schools which all of us should pay for or is it the responsibility of the parents to fully fund.

Last year, when we did reduce staff in our K-8 system, I asked the following question: The after school line item was about $50k “Would you prefer to use this money for after school programs or to pay for another teacher?” The answer from the School Committee was after school programs. This was quite a surprise to me after listening to the horror stories about class size and lack of resources. It seemed at the time as if we must have had all the teaching resources necessary as we were willing to spend money on these “nice to have items” after filling all of the “must have” items.

Rob Stevenson
11 years ago
Reply to  carrie alpert

Carrie – The Trottier web site appears to list many clubs and activities here:

http://www.nsboro.k12.ma.us/trottier/trottierms/activities.htm

I presume based on the comments below from Al Hamilton and made during town meeting that these are partially covered by the 2 Southborough School budget items: Athletics (3510): $31,050 and Sudent Activities (3520): $18,320, which come close to the $50,000 referenced in the meeting and by Al Hamilton.

Pat Q
11 years ago
Reply to  carrie alpert

Carrie,
I have a hard time with your above comments. Your tone and attitude are so defensive and explosive; way beyond what is called for. We are not talking about Armageddon here, we are trying to preserve the town’s budget. Mr. Rooney and the BOS are elected to help run the TOWN, not the school system. They are supposed to look out for the Town AS A WHOLE. Mr. Rooney is sitting up on a stage because we elected him and put him there and you are sitting in “mass seating” because you choose to, as I do.

When you say things like “There will never ever ever ever be a time in this town when we do not back our teachers EVER—get that straight” and “because we come to WIN.” you bring an attitude of “Us vs. Them” which I want no part of….it’s ugly and really doesn’t accomplish anything except to put up walls. Everyone wants what is best for this town and most just want things to be fair, especially as people struggle in today’s economic atmosphere of doom and gloom. There is nothing wrong with being passionate; there is just no reason to be mean as well.
Just a thought….
Reply

Karen
11 years ago
Reply to  Pat Q

Thanks, Pat, I was thinking the same thing.

carrie alpert
11 years ago
Reply to  Pat Q

yes, i guess i am a bit defensive when the teachers are being taken away,absolutely. and when people say that those of us with kids in the system do not care about others in the town it is hurtful because it is a broad statement, unfounded and untrue. And i do not see everything as doom and gloom: i see room for growth and vision and opportunity; however, i want the town to offer opportunity for that growth to new businesses and not take away from a school budget in order to balance the towns budget in other areas, that is addition by subtraction and makes me defensive because it is not even economically workable. i may falter but i will stand behind what i believe in even if i make mistakes or perhaps get too passionate because it is what drives me and as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do”.

Al Hamilton
11 years ago

[Ed note: This comment has been moved at the commenter’s request. You can now find it here: https://mysouthborough.com/2011/04/12/town-meeting-day-1-budgets-pass-with-few-reductions/#comment-82535%5D

ordinary citizen
11 years ago

I just wish people would realize that there are others in this town that do not have an endless supply of money. I truly do not believe that those that voted for the school budget have really thought about others in this town that cannot afford a tax increase, the seniors in this town made it what it is today but for some reason we don’t remember that. What about those in town that are laid off and money is tight. From what everyone says the schools are great but its the real world and there needs to be cuts made. Well said Pat.

mom of two
11 years ago

ordinary citizen,

“Death, taxes and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them.” (Margaret Mitchell, Gone With The Wind)

In all seriousness – people who do not want tax increases should go to TM and make their voices heard. People need to show up and represent their interests. I showed up and represented mine. Such is democracy. If a person does not want higher taxes, that person needs to go to TM and make him or herself heard.

When I vote, I vote for what *I* think is right for the town and my family – not for what *others* might think.

Al Hamilton
11 years ago
Reply to  mom of two

Mom

I have no problem with people voting their interest. However, there are some nuances to your interest.

I have often heard that senior citizens and those without children in the schools (about 70% of Southborough households by the way) should be happy to pay higher taxes to support schools because they will reap the benefits in terms in increased property values.

I believe that to be correct but there is a giant catch which could come back to haunt those making the case. In order to realize the gain those of us without children in the schools have to sell our houses. It is an open secret that very few homes in town pay enough in taxes to fund pay for the education of a single child in that house. So if you have kids in the school your property is a net cash user. Those of us who do not have children in the schools are net cash suppliers (cash cows).

Please note I am not complaining about this system just recognizing the reality. Nearly every time that a Senior decided that their taxes are too high and decides to sell their house, they sell it to new families with children, who will go to our schools. That property changes from a cash supplier to a cash user. And those children compete for the same educational resources that all the other children in town compete for.

So, higher taxes create pressure to sell and higher values create a reason to sell. This is exactly the last thing someone with children in our school systems should want assuming they are voting their self interest and want as many educational opportunities for their children as possible.

John Boiardi
11 years ago

Ordinary citizen,
Apparently you didn’t understand what the proponents of increasing school budgets at the expense of other town budgets at the town meeting. They said that our school system increases the value of our homes. Wow, what a relief! Even though the real estate market has tanked, town meeting members were told that we should support a higher school budget (and higher taxes) because it will result in higher real estate values. This is such bogus argument! Can you write a check for additional taxes or any other reason based on the fleeting, variable, market value of my house? Of course you can get an equity loan, but isn’t that what is hurting our economy? People have maxed out the equity while housing values are dropping , even in Southborough. The argument is bogus because you would have to sell your house to be able to pay the taxes on ahouse you will no longer live in. Anyway, I was relieved to hear the explanation on why I should support higher taxes.

John Kendall
11 years ago
Reply to  John Boiardi

The reality of it is that the show is over for another year. I was not on board with the schools because of the fact that we are so proud of how much our schools spend per pupil even though most of that is salaries. I don’t think more pay makes better teachers, rather those who enjoy teaching and do it well deserve raises, yet everyone gets rewarded no matter how well they teach. The fact remains that Town Meeting is complete, and we will all have to pay more because of it. It’s not fair, but it’s democracy in action.

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