LIVERMORE FALLS – SAD 36 directors voted unanimously Wednesday to ratify a three-year contract with bus drivers and custodians.

The agreement gives members of the SAD 36 Education Support Personnel Association a 3 percent increase each year of the contract. The contract runs retroactively from July 1 to June 30, 2009.

Vice Chairman Fred Nadeau of Livermore Falls, a member of the board’s negotiation team, said the contract has come a long way and declared the bargaining an “excellent negotiation” session.

The association ratified the agreement Tuesday, Superintendent Terry Despres said.

“This was one of the best negotiation exchanges I have been involved in,” Despres said.

The “exchange was very clear” and “guided us to more continuity,” he said.

Under the contract, full-time custodians will be scheduled 40 hours a week, year round, he said.

Custodians will work from 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during the summer, he said.

There will no longer be a schedule of four days a week with a short Friday, he said.

All regular-run bus drivers will be scheduled 30 hours a week, he said, giving them a consistent 30 hours of work.

The association wanted to have Presidents Day off, as an extra holiday, Despres said, but that causes problems during February tournament time so instead they’ll have Christmas Eve day off.

Insurance contributions stayed the same with the board providing 95 percent of the cost for medical insurance for a single plan, 85 percent for an adult/child(ren) plan, two-adult plan or family plans.

The negotiations clarified language and removed at least two pages of addenda, Despres said.

Both parties had to give and both had to take a little and balance it off, he said.

Nadeau said the people negotiating the contract for the association were very cooperative and on track and understood the contract needed to be cleaned up because it had become unmanageable.

Nadeau also thanked fellow negotiators from the board who worked on the contract.

In other business, Despres said that a new high school principal is anticipated to be announced on Sept. 12 with an internal announcement first to staff and then a public one. Despres will remain as principal and a leader during the transition period.

The board approved at the Aug. 10 meeting to authorize Despres to hire a candidate recommended by the Principal Search Committee for a 2-year contract. The candidate has not been hired yet, Despres said after the meeting.

The board also agreed Wednesday to give a committee overseeing student handbooks nine weeks to work with students, staff and administrators to come up with a document that coincides with the board’s policies.

Director Catherine Ouellette of Livermore said during review of the current handbook the committee found 20 to 25 policy violations.

“We’ll see a whole new handbook,” Despres said.

The current book was patched together and not followed, he added.

“We need something real. Just because it’s on paper doesn’t mean it’s good,” he said.

The board hired Amanda Allen of Presque Isle as a health educator for grades six through 12.

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