STRONG — Regional School Unit 58 directors and members of the teachers’ union and educational technicians’ union approved contracts Tuesday, ending years of negotiations.

“It’s fair to the teachers, it’s fair to the taxpayers, and it’s fair to the education of our children,” director Faith Richard of Phillips said of the contracts.

The agreements came after two and a half years of negotiations with the ed techs’ union and three years of negotiations with the teachers’ union.

“We’re absolutely delighted,” Rebecca Lane, a representative for the educational technicians’ union, told the board. “This was a pleasure.”

The board met Tuesday night for two executive sessions, led by Superintendent Susan Pratt, to consider the recommendations from four directors who met with representatives of the two unions, and a representative from the Maine Educational Association.

“These contracts take effect today,” said Pratt, who took over as superintendent July 1. They cover the current school year.

“The first year, we have redesigned the salary scale,” she said. New contracts will have step increases and will be more attractive to new teachers interested in teaching in the district.

“That brings us just about average in our region,” Pratt said.

Sally Bean, the teachers’ union representative, said the past two months of interest-based bargaining required discussion, exploration and willingness to seek a new solution.

“Any issue that either side wanted to bring up required us to explain it so that everyone understood,” she said. “Then the whole group had to brainstorm solutions.”

That type of bargaining required the participants to change their thinking processes and to listen to each other, she said.

The district includes the towns of Avon, Kingfield, Phillips and Strong.


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