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 Schoolís 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 districtís 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 Waylandís 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 Schoolís 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.