Wed, Mar 28, 2012 02:52 PM
Teachers in Addison-Rutland Supervisory Union sidestepped a planned
strike by reaching a tentative agreement with the school boards at
Castleton, Fair Haven, Benson and Orwell. The major difference was
over what teachers in the ARSU Education Association called a pay
cut but school boards labeled a pay freeze.
The union has pushed for a new teacher's contract for 15 months,
but failed to reach agreement with the school boards. After
negotiations continued to fail, the school boards imposed a
one-year contract without the most recent salary increases, a move
that took about $100 from each monthly check and which board
members describe as a pay freeze, eliminating step increases
(rewards for additional education and experience) that teachers
began receiving at the beginning of the academic year - and a pay
freeze that applies to administrators and paraeducators as
The union has been demanding a three-year contract containing a 3.5
percent pay increase each year. The school boards want to pay
teachers 1.6 percent more and pay increases based on years of
experience. They also differ over the percentage that teachers pay
for health care insurance, with the union pushing for 1 percent
more in the final year of contract, but the boards say 1 percent
more now, plus 3 percent more in the second contract year.
Many in the affected communities support the teachers, fearing that
not increasing teacher pay is the road to a lower quality education
for their children. Others say that we cannot afford to increase
teacher as it will increase property taxes when many are out of
work or have taken cuts in pay or hours themselves to retain their
Teachers have already received 17 percent pay increases over the
past four years. Their school districts pay nearly all of their
health insurance premiums. Most have their summers off or get paid
extra for their classroom work beyond the 180-day school
The affected communities have been under a great deal
of pressure. Union teachers say they are not respected for their
contribution. Those who support the school boards say that it is
the strike-oriented teachers who do not respect the communities
they supposedly serve.
No details have been released on the
temporary agreement. Reaching a real agreement that leads to
contract has been postponed.
These same arguments will undoubtedly arise again unless the local
economy takes off at a gallop with those outside the education
profession also receiving pay increases and all around fiscal
• The old Castleton State College Physical
Plant/Facilities building has been demolished, to be replaced by a
pavilion and gateway to Spartan Stadium.
• The college's technical director Chad Voghell
is moving on after almost 13 years at the school. He has accepted a
position directing lighting for Rutland-based rock concert and
events producer Atomic Professional Audio.
• Senior art one-person exhibitions each take a
week's turn in the Library Lounge Gallery. Drop in once a week to
see what's new from these talented young people.
• Castleton's new 162-bed, $7.8-million dormitory
will be ready for occupancy June 1. The first to use it are not
college students, however; summer camp participants will be the
first to experience the new facility. In addition to sleeping
space, the dorm contains space for meetings and conferences, maybe
even some dinners.
• Castleton graduates Stuart Stefan and Jonathan
Lafrance are skating for the Huntsville (AL) Havoc of the Southern
Professional Hockey League.
FAIR HAVEN -The Spanish Club plans to spend 24 days in Spain,
walking about 300 miles of the Camino de Santiago, and learning
about daily life in Spain. Teachers Bruce Chase and David
Herren-Lage are working on an academic plan that may give
participants course credit if approved by the school board.
A recent Morning Edition program on Vermont Public Radio featured
Fair Haven and its NECAP scores. The school had received $550,000
federal funds over three years which it used to expand its freshman
transition program, increase teacher training, and improve its
technology capabilities. Principal Brett Blanchard questions
whether the NECAP scores measure how well the school prepares
students for life beyond the classroom.
Monday, April 2 - Better Balance Classes/Open House, Castleton
Community Center, 9:30 a.m. Successive classes are Monday,
Wednesday, and Friday 9:30 to 10:30. Call 468-3093.
Wednesday, April 4 - Chili Mac 'N Cheese Cook-Off, Mettawee
Community School. Enter an original chili and/or macaroni and
cheese dish for judging by the community at large. Call Brooke
Burnham or Linda Maness, 645-9009, for info.