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Thread: Key Questions for School Committee Candidates

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    8

    Default Key Questions for School Committee Candidates

    I wished I had asked these questions earlier when there would have been more time for discussion. Sorry it took me so long to get my mind around what I see as a core issue going forward.

    As covered in “Important issue for School Committee” from FY07 to FY10 Wayland increased average teacher salary by 31% and reduce the teaching staff by 46 positions. While Weston, for example, increased average salaries by 12% and increased teaching staff by 7.3 positions.

    Thus, the key question for current members is: (1) was it their plan to significantly increase average salaries, increase the average level experience of the teaching staff and pay for it by reducing staff; or (2) was this an unintended result of individual decisions and/or the contract that was agreed to in 2007.

    The question for all candidates it that going forward do you favor having a more experienced, higher average salaried, smaller teaching staff (the road we have been on) . Or a mix of experience levels with more less experienced teachers, lower average salary and a somewhat larger staff. I don’t think we can afford both.
    Which approach will lead to better result for Wayland students?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    When the schools add staff, they do so based on need and with a focus on quality. New staff members may be relatively low or high on the experience scale. When staff is reduced, it's done in part by seniority per the contract.

    To date, to my knowledge, the schools have not actively decided to adjust the student:teacher ratio based on staff experience. I'm not aware of any data that shows that teacher quality correlates with experience, so I think that this aforementioned practice is appropriate.

    With respect to your questions, I'm going to go with "none of the above." I can't get into negotiation strategy, but I can say that the plan when I was on the Committee was not all three elements of your #1. #2 isn't exactly right, but it's much closer: knowing the contract and making individual decisions has known/dependent (as opposed to "unintended") results. A minor quibble, I think.

    In my opinion, the economics of public education will force student:teacher ratios up. Without a doubt, only the better teachers will be able to successfully manage these larger class sizes. To help them meet this challenge, I expect that educational technology will come to bear in a manner that's cost effective relative to current educational spending.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    27

    Default

    In my opinion, the average salary went up because of layoffs of lower earning new staff members. As Jeff pointed out, "When staff is reduced, it's done in part by seniority per the contract" and Wayland reduced 46 positions. If Wayland starts hiring again, average salary will dip.

    Also have Weston and Wellesley school systems undergone similar staffing reductions in the last 3 years, if no then that answers the question.

    I don't think there is any strategy or vision involved in this.

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