RSU73 has spent the past three years implementing a consolidation process that has improved the schools. The students deserve much of the credit as they have truly “risen from the ashes,” as Phoenix do. To see former rivals working together in the classroom, playing together in sports, and taking roles in their school community has been a pleasure.
That is not to say that the consolidation process has been an easy one. Both the middle and high schools are now combined and students have more courses and programs available to them. That has required a great deal of effort on the part of staff. But a goal for consolidation was to provide students with new educational opportunities, and it has succeeded.
Students and teachers do continue to struggle with the limitations of the physical spaces available. Teaching and learning have been impacted by ongoing construction, but all have made great efforts to make the best of each situation.
The process has always been about bringing schools together. After all, that is what consolidation is.
There is, however, one place where consolidation has not been the norm: contract negotiations. Teachers in different schools still work under different contacts with different language and different rates of pay.
It is time for the school committee to help end that disparity and take a hard look at simply negotiating a consolidated contract.
Robert Taylor, Jay