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Thread: Vote NO on 2012 ATM Article 9: study of teacher compensation

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Wayland MA
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    Default Vote NO on 2012 ATM Article 9: study of teacher compensation

    Article 9 is a waste of taxpayer money, and a potentially damaging waste at that if the proposed work becomes public. The article proposes to spend $16,000 to perform a woefully vague analysis and deliver an unnecessary and limited report that is redundant with work the School Committee already does more broadly and at no cost to the town.

    Here's the full language of the article (from the http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/Wayla...rant2012.pdf):

    Quote Originally Posted by Article 9
    To determine whether the Town will vote to authorize $16,000 for an analysis of the Wayland Public School’s labor contracts and compensation policies and for assistance in the next round of contract negotiations, and to determine whether such appropriation shall be provided by taxation, by transfer from unappropriated funds, by transfer of funds already appropriated for another purpose, by grants received from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or Federal Government, by borrowing, or otherwise.

    The report will compare the Wayland Public School district’s employee contracts and compensation with those in the following districts: Belmont, Harvard, Lexington, Sharon, Weston and Dover-Sherborn. The report shall recommend steps that will align the Wayland Public Schools with the compensation plans of other high-performing school districts and quantify the costs or savings if such steps are implemented. The assistance in negotiations will improve Wayland’s competitive standing in educational compensation. The report should be completed prior to September 30th, 2012. The contract(s) shall be awarded by the Wayland School Committee.
    Here are my concerns about this article:

    1. What does "analysis of the Wayland Public School’s labor contracts and compensation policies" mean?

    2. What does "assistance in the next round of contract negotiations" mean? The School Committee is not obligated to include any outside entity (beyond a representative of the Board of Selectmen) in its negotiation strategy sessions, and it is not obligated to include any outside entity in the negotiations themselves.

    3. Why this particular group of 6 towns for comparison purposes? The School Committee's list of peer towns is on the order of twice this size.

    4. The compensation that Wayland offers its teachers as reflected in per pupil expenditure is ALREADY aligned with its peer towns; what is the point of recommendations to accomplish that already accomplished end?

    5. The actions that would change the cost of the compensation that the Wayland Public Schools offer are already quite obvious: raise/lower pay and/or add/subtract non-pay benefits. What does the proposed analysis add?

    6. The proposed report cannot become a public document--to do so would be to undermine the School Committee's negotiating position.

    7. The School Committee already performs this analysis--at no cost to the town--on a much larger set of peer towns. What value does this article add?

    The Wayland Voters Network chimes in with this:

    Quote Originally Posted by WVN
    Article 9 would authorize $16,000 to study teacher compensation. Petitioners say that "a smart compensation plan is key to a superior educational program." Another argument is that the "steady climb of the average Wayland teacher's salary has exceeded those of its peer districts without sufficient explanation."
    First, the Petitioners misunderstand education if they believe that "a smart compensation plan is key to a superior educational program." It's a factor, to be sure, but it's not "key." Second, the argument that WVN makes to is not born out by the facts: Wayland's average teacher salary and per pupil expenditure have tracked with (and not exceeded) its peer districts over at least the last few 3-year negotiation cycle.

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

    Default

    While I'm pleased that Town Meeting voted as it did, I was a bit surprised at some of the "pro Article 9" comments as reported in Wayland Patch's ATM Live Blog.

    1. Shawn Kinney, member of the School Committee, but speaking on his own behalf in favor of the argument, is quoted as saying: "I believe the cost of a teacher should be known and compared to other towns. ... I do not know, but I believe, that Wayland compensates its teachers very well." First, Wayland DOES know the cost of its teachers and DOES compare these costs to other towns ... and does so on an annual basis. Second, Wayland DOES compensate its teachers very well, yet achieves a per pupil expenditure in the middle of its peer towns by virtue of relatively higher student:teacher ratios. It is concerning that Mr. Kinney, now in his third year on the Committee, appears to be unaware of this important aspect of our school system.

    2. Kent George is quoted as saying, "This article would allow us to pull back the curtain." It's not at all clear what "curtain" Mr. George wishes to have pulled back, but having sensitive negotiation strategy information out in the open would be highly irresponsible to the taxpayers in Wayland. His advocating for that irresponsibility is troubling.

    3. Andrea Wagner, wife of School Committee member Shawn Kinney, is quoted as saying, "I don't know whose done all the work in the past and I don't know that it's being done now. It could be dated." In addition, Wagner feels that starting teacher salaries in Wayland are "very low." It had been repeated several times earlier in the discussion that Wayland already collects this type of information, but for more towns. As for starting teacher salaries, people would be hard-pressed to describe them as "very low."

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