RSU 10 administrators settle contract

DIXFIELD — Directors of Western Foothills Regional School Unit 10 have settled a labor contract that includes a 3-percent average pay raise for 29 administrative  employees.

Rumford representative Tracey Higley was the sole dissenter.

The bargaining unit includes “at-will” employees, seven administrators in the Dirigo and Nezinscot regions, nine technology specialists and 13 central office employees.

Superintendent Tom Ward said the contract is for one year, until June 30, 2011.

In addition to wage increases, some changes were made to the amount of money employees pay toward health insurance premiums.

Right now, the district pays 100 percent of health insurance premiums for single employees. That will change to 94 percent over a three-year period.

For insured families, the current rate of 85 percent paid by the district will decline to 84 percent, also over a three-year period.

The one-year contracts granted the “at-will” administrative employees was an interim step, Ward said. Next year, Dirigo and Nezinscot administrators will join Mountain Valley region administrators under a presumably three-year contract.

Since the merger of former SADs 39, 21 and 43 last year, Ward said efforts have been made to bring together all similar bargaining units from each region.

Also, Ward said he and other administrators are working on the development of common graduation requirements for each of the district's three high schools Mountain Valley, Dirigo and Buckfield.

“We want to be as consistent as possible from high school to high school while maintaining school identity,” Ward said.

Eventually, common ground will include RSU-wide grading standards.

On Tuesday, Ward said an administrative team has been working on a proposal that would call for students in all three high schools to earn 24 credits before graduating. Right now, Dirigo requires 24, Mountain Valley, 22, and Buckfield, 23.

Students in each high school would be expected to successfully complete four credits each in English, math, science and social studies. Such requirements would be phased in, so that by 2015, all mandates could be met.

Looking five years into the future for the course requirement alignment “would allow us to phase it in and it helps with curriculum and budgets,” Ward said.

Administrators will continue work on the proposed plan, which must be acted on by the RSU 10 board. Ward said it may be ready for action by the Nov. 22 meeting.

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