Tentative Agreement on School District Union Health Care Plan
At the April 10 School Committee meeting it was announced that a Memorandum of Agreement has been signed by all members of Public Employees Committee (PEC), agreeing to the health care benefits proposal for July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2015. The PEC members represent the district's five unions - teachers, administrative assistants, paraprofessionals, custodians, and cafeteria/maintenance employees. The teachers' union is expected to hold an informational meeting on the full teachers' contract proposal this week and will meet again to vote on contract ratification during the week of April 23.
Superintendent of Schools Joseph Mastrocola encouraged the School Committee to continue the existing school choice policy. There are currently 61 choice applicants throughout the district for the 2012-2013 school year. Calls regarding school choice are received daily; the application deadline is June 1. Mastrocola said that although $5,300 in state funding is taken in for each school choice student, keeping class sizes low and keeping costs in line with the budget are priorities. One possibility to control the cost, he said, would be to only consider applications at the high school.
Recommendations have been made by the Policy Committee on what holidays to add to the school calendar. All agreed-upon holidays will be added to the school policy manual; guidelines for what can and can't be done in classrooms with respect to those holidays will be included. The Committee reported that a "technology communications" policy which includes social networking (e.g., FaceBook, Twitter) applications is under review; this policy will cover acceptable communication channels between staff and students.
A proposal to establish a GDRSD stabilization fund has been presented by the Budget and Finance Committee to the Town of Groton's Finance Committee and Board of Selectmen, and to Dunstable's Advisory Committee for this Spring's Annual Town Meeting warrants. Funds for a stabilization account could then be added via either a budget line item or a separate warrant article. Discussions with both towns included a Memorandum of Understanding limiting fund additions to a separate warrant article.
The Personnel and Negotiations Committee will start reviewing applications for the Interim Superintendent of Schools position later in April. The application deadline for experienced school superintendents is Friday, April 20.
Pending inclement weather, the last day of instruction for all students will be Monday, June 18. This will be a half-day of school for students and a full day for staff. The first day of instruction for the 2012-2013 school year will be: Grades one-nine, August 29; grades K, 10, 11, 12 - August 30; Pre-K - August 31.