LISBON — Contract negotiations between the Lisbon Education Association and the Lisbon School Department have moved to fact-finding, association President Rick Beaule said following Monday’s School Committee meeting.

Teachers have been working without a new contract for 210 days, he said.

Beaule said fact-finding will end with a recommendation from a panel, including an attorney from each party and an impartial third-party attorney. The panel will discuss the points of contention and conclude with what best meets everyone’s needs.

He reminded the committee that school department employees accepted a 1% cost-of-living adjustment in 2020 and another 1% in 2021 while the consumer price index rose 5% and 8.6%, respectively. A nearly 14% inflation versus a 2% salary and wage adjustment is a steep cut in buying power, and next year inflation is projected to reach nearly 8.5%, making well over a 20% inflation rate over three years, he said.

“Another cost-of-living increase along the previous lines would only painfully deepen cuts in buying power, making an already harder and rockier financial soil even worse for Lisbon employees,” he said. “The LEA asks that both the School Committee and the town please factor these hard facts into your budget considerations.”

Sixth grade math and science teacher Kyle Beeton told the committee he has enjoyed coming to school every day for the past nearly six years. He spoke to the strengths of his colleagues, how all teachers and staff handled the pandemic exceptionally, and have overseen the steady rise of test scores, but the little things like hours of curriculum work, lesson planning, organizing field trips and more most likely are not on the committee’s radar.


Beeton said if Lisbon wants to continue to be the best, teachers need a competitive contract, surely a hard decision when beholden to taxpayers as well as Lisbon’s children’s education, and equally as hard for teachers to ask. However, Lisbon teachers have dedicated their careers to supporting kids and their education, and supporting a raise for teachers is actively supporting better teachers and, in the long run, better education, he said.

“When a position opens here in this district, and there will be several, … they will look to see the schools nearby, what the teachers are like there, and they also look at pay,” Beeton said. “If they can get paid more somewhere else, they are likely to go somewhere else. I think that’s normal and that’s my concern.”

Since the issue is unresolved, committee members said little other than expressing their dedication to the district and local education and to the current and next steps in the negotiation process.

“The School Committee will continue to bargain in good faith and resolve (this) as soon as possible … following the ground rules in each step of the remaining process moving forward,” Chairwoman Margaret Galligan-Schmoll said.

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