November 18, 2017
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Comments for: SAD 22 school board, teachers union near performance-based pay system

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  • Anonymous

     Well, stupidity and incompetence have prevailed: “hiring and raises should be based on performance”  …
    What is the criteria for “performance” evaluation?  Individual progress from first day to last?  Cross referenced by average class IQ or individual IQ? Maybe factor in emotional disturbances, parental divorce during year, or any one of hundreds of non-teaching elements which can affect the student’s progress?
    Then there is the matter of the super-smart student.  They will show NO progress, since they had already mastered the test elements before entering the class… they might even regress if they get too bored.
    It is impossible to measure performance over a short term basis.  In many cases, the true teaching ability does not show itself until the student is at advanced levels and recalls the small points driven home which now take on epic meaning.  But, by then, the teacher has had no raises, or been fired — specifically because their TRUE performance came in a time-capsule.
    The performance criteria is a Board Member based subjective evaluation … one which is more political than teaching based… ultimately, the teachers will be screwed, and the really good teachers will leave…. only the schmoozers will remain.

      

  • Anonymous

    Evaluating teachers based on student performance is as stupid as evaluating a gas station attendant for the mileage you get from the gallon of gas you just purchased. Or to bring it closer to home, it is like evaluating doctors on whether or not his patients lost weight, quit smoking or excessive drinking; it’s like evaluating the police officers (not the department as a whole) for the rate of crime in a city; it’s like evaluating firemen based on the number of fires in a given year. Teachers are responsible for TEACHING (maybe that’s why they are called TEACHERS); students are responsible for LEARNING> They have 100% control over whether or not they learn. Unless and until students and parents are held accountable for their own educational outcomes (rather than using the red-herring of teacher evaluation in order to cut budgets), nothing will improve in education. NOTHING.By the way, the new contract includes:”Intensive assistance for underperforming teachers. This would involve the board putting teachers with serious performance concerns on an ‘action plan’ to address their weaknesses.”

    Uh, this is already in 99.99% of all Master Contracts with school districts around the country. The problem is that there are too many administrators and boards of education that don’t know how to identify the problems, develop and action plan, and actually FOLLOW THROUGH on implementing it.

    • Anonymous

      AMEN!  Teachers love to teach.  Too many parents make excuses for their child not behaving in school, completing work and even justify why a child can’t stay after school for behavioral or academic needs.  Parents need to be just as, if not more, accountable for their child’s educational progress.  Making teacher pay based on student performance will only lead to more test scandals and lack of genuine teaching.

  • Anonymous

    This article does not reflect the true issues at heart in S.A.D.#22.  The district superintendent stating that, ” if there was money left” in the budget then there would be a pool to compensate teachers based on their performance. Another issue is  the District’s refusal to state a minimum pool of money set aside for raises ( thus allowing the District to balance the budget on the backs of the teachers). 

    The other issue is the subjective nature of the evaluations that are proposed and that would be out of the hands of the union once the contract is approved. Union members should be concerned: look at how subjectively the 12 administrators ( superintendent ,  asst. superintendent, principals, and directors) within S.A.D.#22 have been compensated. 

    One who scours the school board minutes will find that the same 3 administrators have received over double what the apparently “lacking ” principals in the district have received over the past 6 years. If all of these administrators only warrant a minimum raise while the superintendent , asst. superintendent and 1 principal warrant up to 7.2 % increase in compensation this year;  then why are these principals still in place?   Can teachers expect a 7.2% pay increase this year? 

    Taxpayers of S.A.D.#22 should take the time to go back over the past 3 years of school board meetings minutes to see that although we are in a recession, and some  support employees in the district will not get any raise for the next 3 years,  three  administrators have received huge increases in compensation.  ( Be careful to not look just at raises but also bonuses, retirement additions and vacation increases ).  The taxpayer will have to read the minutes carefully to find this information because many of these raises are passed by the board during, ” special board meetings” rather then regularly scheduled meetings.

    It is time for the taxpayers in S.A.D.#22 to stand up for the classroom personnel who educate their children and the staff who support that education. No more smoke and mirrors with the administrators raises while the educational techs. go without raises for 3 years. 

    Taxpayers should attend Wednesday night’s school board meeting  to watch what really goes on.  Why are the meetings not aired on T.V. as are  the Town’s council meetings?

  • Anonymous

    “language dealing with teachers and absentee rates, specifically those who miss more than 51 of the 184 “contract” class days per year.”
    –Good Lord! Unless there’s some horrific accident or something, who on Earth misses that much work time in a 184-day year? I’d get rid of them, too.

    • Anonymous

       Well, under the family leave act, employees are allowed to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave when they have a baby.  12 weeks =60 school days.  Although most teachers can’t afford to take 60 unpaid days (it cost me over $4000 to take 15 days off when my baby was born), they are allowed to by law, so it has to be addressed in the contract.

    • Anonymous

       As mentioned before there is Federal law that allows unpaid family leave. Yes , teachers do get cancer and believe it or not they like to have a family lives as well. If a teacher happens to have a child during the school year they will need family leave.
      However do not get distracted from the facts at hand.

      Take the time to ask ANY teacher in MSAD22 what was said by Ms. Bickmore at the April 8th, 2012 mandatory meeting. Kelly Bickmore stood in front of the teachers and was unprepared, and flustered and tried to convince teachers that it was a good idea to vote for MERIT based pay without knowing how they would be evaluated or what they could expect in raises. While teachers asked questions of Ms. Bickmore ; administrators took down the names of those who had the bravery to stand up for their rights.

      Mr. Lyons said repeatedly that the”pool ” of money for raises would depend on what was left year to year and that some years there may not be any money for raises.

      The real issue is that after raises are given out to the administrators, and the debt service on the new Academy is paid for …then whatever is left will be the scraps that teachers can compete for….and that though 95-99 percent of teachers in MSAD22 are high performing as demonstrated by national test scores( and stated by Mr. Lyons)….there may not be any money for raises.

      Tax payers should speak to the teachers who educate their children to ask their opinion of what is being done in MSAD22. Attending the October 10th school board meeting( 7 P.M. at H.A.) would also be a start toward taxpayers making an informed decision about what is really going on in their district.

  • Anonymous

    A large percentage of people are based on performance. The social worker, CEO, government employee, addiction treatment professional. why should teachers get paid regardless of poor performance? If one teacher has a class suceeding and the room next door is failing you must ask why? Same resources, same problems, same school district.

    • Anonymous

      Paying teachers based on performance isn’t a bad idea, but how are they going to be evaluated?  Evaluating teachers based on STUDENT performance is the issue.  Other professionals are evaluated and paid on THEIR own performance, not someone else’s.  Saying that a teacher is doing a bad job because his students test scores are low makes no sense…as others have said, there is a lot more to student learning than the teaching itself.  Doctors and dentists might do all they can to teach their patients to take care of themselves, but the patients make choices that effect the outcome.  Should we only pay the dentist if we stay cavity free?  Or should the doctor only get paid if the cancer is cured?  If we can find a way to appropriately evaluate teachers, then paying them for their expertise and excellent performance on the job makes sense!  It might motivate some very good, talented, young people to get into or stay in the profession, instead of leaving for a more lucrative job that they are less passionate about. 

      • Anonymous

        This is a great point. In my world a certain % of non-conformance by the clients is built in. You can ask for “circumstance waiver” if you are unable to meet the performance objective. Objectives are based on evidence based treatment outcomes. I think that the design needs to include the teachers. The ones that do good a job and are exceptional will likeyl never have an issue. The performance objectives will be realistic. I see this as a way to keep the exceptional teachers. I would rather take wages away from those who are just good and give them to exceptional teachers. I guess I would encourage teachers to keep an open mind. I think that the teaching colleges should be a bit more critical of graduating profesionals. I think the universities ill prepare teachers for “real world”. I think more student field experiences, more critical evaluations to graduate, and input from exceptional professionals already teaching should weigh heavily before you get the degree. In isolation, these evlautions will not corerct the issue.

        • Anonymous

          It is interesting that you mention evidence based practice. The evidence about merit based pay is that it DOES NOT WORK to improve student scores on tests. In fact motivation research is clear that unless you are performing an unskilled repetitive action such as producing widgets that tying money to output leads to decreased output, narrowing of options, decreased creativity and  just does not work. 

          Since it appears you work in a medical model let me ask…do your spend on average 2,500 dollars a year out of pocket to buy the supplies you need to perform your job? ( do you buy your own rubber gloves and face masks)teachers do!!

          The issue in SAD 22 is NOT merit based pay it is the administration scurrying to make ends meet now that the new Academy is open. 
          Check the research, check the facts, gather all relevant information before making a decision. Sound familiar…it is called clinical reasoning and the teachers could use the support of knowledgeable thoughtful people such as yourself to advocate for what is fair. 

      • Anonymous

        Again….This article does NOT at all reflect what is happening in SAD 22(one of the highest performing districts in the state.) The issue is a school board that is scrambling to balance the budget for the new Academy as well as administrators salaries on the backs of the teachers. 

        Look at the school board minutes which are online. Search and you will find that even among 12 administrators there has been great subjectivity  and thus Huge raises for some over the past 5-6 years while others…the majority received less then 1/2 that of the superintendent, asst. superintendent and 1 principal.

        If the issue were performance then 9 of the 12 administrators who have received only baseline raises over the past 6 years should all be on performance plans / or should be fired. BUT the issue is NOT performance it is a fiscal end run by the school board and administration. 

    • Anonymous

       The issue IS NOT poor performance. Mr. Lyons has stated that 95-99% of his teachers are high performing. This issue is about the C.F.O. and school board trying to balance the budget on the backs of the teachers. Would you sign a mortgage and not know what rate you were going to pay? Would you work and wait to see if there was money enough to pay you ? Stay focused on the REAL issue and ask the teachers you know what is really going on.

  • Anonymous

    “Language dealing with teachers and absentee rates, specifically those
    who miss more than 51 of the 184 “contract” class days per year.”

    And you wonder why education is failing.  You can’t even agree on how to handle a teacher who is not showing up to work 28% of the time?  How about firing them.  And how about doing it when they the missed maybe 14 days at most?

    “Intensive assistance for under performing teachers. This would involve
    the board putting teachers with serious performance concerns on an
    “action plan” to address their weaknesses.”

    Again, no wonder education is failing.  Explain to the under performing teachers that they should try somewhere else and FIRE them.  And explain to them that if they fail at a couple more schools that maybe they are just not cut out to be teachers and should do something else!

    • Anonymous

      Again, teachers, just like everyone else, are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of UNPAID maternity/paternity leave, adoption leave, and family leave to tend to a sick family member thanks to the Family Leave Act.  12 weeks = 60 days.  It is 60 unpaid days, so most people can’t afford that, but they are entitled to it by law, just like you are, so it needs to be addressed in the contract. Plenty of people in other profession have babies, sick spouses, or parents and have to take time to care for them. Your comment implies that I should be fired if I happen to have a baby during the school year and need to take time off.

      And you say that teachers should be fired for missing 14 days at most??!?!?!? Give me a break! Teachers are surrounded by sick kids all the time, and should take a sick day or two every now and then. Also, teachers do not get lunch breaks to run errands and go to appointments like some people do, so when my kids have doctor/dentist appointments, I have to take a sick day to take them there. I have not missed a single day because I myself was sick, but I easily miss 15 days a year for my kids…some people do not have the luxury of having family to take them to appointments or to stay home with them when they are sick, so what do you expect them to do?

      • Anonymous

        There was no mention of the Family Leave Act in the article. since that is a federal law, other than acknowledging it there is no need to “negotiate” it in the contract. By the way, it is a lousy law and widely abused in the workplace.

        51 days is not a “sick day or two every now and then”. That is missing on average 1 day every week of the 37 weeks, (184 / 5), and 2 days on 14 of those weeks. The work load shifted to other teachers, not to mention the expense of hiring substitutes, is unacceptable in most private business and would result in being fired. Only in the public sector is such behavior and work ethic considered acceptable.

        Everything else you mentioned is nothing more than excuses used to justify your behavior.

        • Anonymous

          Trickle: I hear what you are saying and it
          is all accurate on face value. However, as often happens, the data has
          been manipulated. The fact is most teachers do not use their sick time.
          I have more than 65 days on the books and I have only been teaching at
          my current district for 5 years. This part of the contract is there
          to note that a teacher who is out for EXTREME issues will not get their
          step increase.

          • Anonymous

            Am I understand correctly?  You get 13 sick days a year?  And can roll them over? 

          • Anonymous

             Yes, that is the case for most districts…14-15 sick days a a year, and they accumulate.  But there are restrictions on how many you can use and when. I can’t save up for 10 years, for example, then call in sick for the next 4 months! :)

          • Anonymous

            In my opinion 14 – 15 sick days for 10 months sounds like a decent deal.

          •  In some districts, teachers will donate a day or two to a “pool” . That way if a teacher is seriously sick (cancer, debilitating illness, etc.) they can use the days in the pool after their own days are used up.

          • Anonymous

            Very nice.

        • Anonymous

           Well, the Family Leave Act not being mentioned in the article doesn’t change anything…all I was saying is that making a generalization and saying that 51 days is too much to miss isn’t ok…people have babies sometimes…or spouses or children that have cancer…

          And I also did not say that 51 days was “a sick day every now” and then…I was refering to the comment that you made saying that people should be fired after missing 14 DAYS!!!! 14 days  is a sick day every now and then.  I have never used all the sick days alotted to me, because I saved them up for 5 years knowing that I wanted to take a few weeks off for maternity leave, only to find out I couldn’t use them.  So, I paid my school $4000 to stay home for 15 days with my kid, and now I have more sick days than I could ever use.  And as someone already said, most teachers do not use all of their sick days in any given year.  I also know many other people on salaries that get anywhere from 12-20 sick days a year, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable that most schools give employees 14 or so sick days a year.

          Your comment about me making excuses to justify my behavior is just ignorant.  You are a bitter, judgemental person who knows nothing about my behavior, which includes being at school 9+ hours a day, then picking up my kids, bringing them back to school with me for coaching and advising duties, corrections, photocopying, etc, and spending most weekends correcting, prepping lessons, and attending workshops to stay current in my field, not to mention the summer classes and workshops I attend without pay. Pardon me, but I feel that it is acceptable for me to take a sick day when my child isn’t allowed to be at daycare due to a fever of 102.  And I don’t feel the need to justify that behavior to the likes of you, I just wanted to clarify.

          • Anonymous

            I’m a salaried employee (with the same company for 18 years), I get 6 sick days a year.  No roll overs.  And, yes I worked full time when my children were young. 

          • Anonymous

             Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about my 14 sick days per year.  I get way more than my husband does (he does not have sick days-a day off for him means we don’t buy groceries that week), so I am thankful for my 14 days a year.  Having those 14 days is essential for us, since he can’t take time off, and I often need to stay home with a sick child or two. 

            I consider sick time part of the compensation for my job.  When I apply for jobs, I look at all the benefits, not just the salary.  Having certain benefits like sick time, professional development opportunities, health insurance,  etc can make up for having a lower salary than what you might have at another job.  I think some of these things help some teachers accept the fact that they are making a lot less money teaching than they could be making in another field. 

          • Anonymous

            So it evens out.  Going in you know your paycheck may not equal what those in the private sector may (and I stress MAY) be making.  But the time off, sick days, snow days, long holiday vacations, health insurance and pension benefits make it worthwhile.  It would be nice if everyone could see that instead of just the ‘take home’.

          • Anonymous

            Just to be clear, snow days are not days off…we get a snow day in Dec, we work an extra day in June…We work the specified number of days every year, snow days or not.  A lot of the ‘days off’ that people think teachers get are not days off at all.  

          • Anonymous

            Do you work 9-12 hours a day and have to take a sick day in order to bring your child to a Drs. appt. or dentist appt.? Teachers are locked in. Ask any doctor or dentist office who sucks up all of the summer appointments. It is  the teachers trying to take care of their families while taking care of their students as well. 

            And again I ask. DO you spend 2,500 out of pocket each year to buy the supplies you need to perform your job?  Teachers in SAD 22 have had to purchase copying paper just to keep the copiers running for the last few months of the school year. They buy their own file folders and other basic supplies. DO you?

          • Anonymous

            No need to attack.  Seriously.
            Do you take a day off without pay when it snows to care for your children?
            (I can dish it too)

        • Anonymous

          There is a lot not mentioned in the article such as the fact that administrators have already received their pay increases some up to 7.2 percent for this year. The fact that negotiations should be kept private under the contract and school board rules. 

          Mr. Lyons should be asked how many of the 220 teachers use NONE of their sick leave each year. He gives out a 100 dollar bonus for this so it should be easy to pull up. 

          AS far as personal sick leave goes …the students of SAD22 would have lost several excellent teachers if they had been fired while they were off school to fight their cancer .

          • Anonymous

            I would love to know how many of those $100 bonuses he actually has to pay out. I’m willing to bet it isn’t very many.

            And those teachers who are off fighting their cancer could reapply and be rehired if they are that good. After they are healthy enough to work full time again.

      • My first job I went 4 years without being as much as one minute late. Missed or late 5 times in a year you were fired.  My how times have changed . Having  a baby is a choice … Not like you are doing heavy lifting .  My how The work world has changed .

    • Anonymous

      Check your facts. Federal law allows for unpaid family leave. And by the way SAD 22 is one of the highest performing districts in the state. The administrators are trying to muddy the waters( and break bargaining rules just by talking about this in public while negotiations are ongoing). 

      The issue is that administrators have taken their raises for this year and , support staff with under 8 years of experience will get no raise for the next 3 years( these are the people making $8-10 dollars an hour to wipe bottoms and clean up vomit). Ask any teacher in the district what the TRUE issue is. 

      Coincidence that the payment for the new Academy building is due??? I don’t think so.

      • Anonymous

        I have rarely met an administrator who was worth more than the janitors. Most are worth less.

      • Anonymous

        Your right someone should look at this, cleaning up vomit and wiping bottoms is definetly a 7.50 an hour job.

  • Anonymous

    Look teachers, I respect you and many are good. Within your profession there are  failures. Student performance in the US is so far behind other countires it is embarassing. It isn’t all the profession’s fault, but you are a piece of the puzzle. Instead of focusing on quality of teachers the treatment for poor performance of schools has been toss more money. New building, better text books, smaller classrooms, fair wages, etc. My thought, starting performing and you get more money. Simple. In my job I don’t get a raise unless I meet specfic performance measures such as client retention, tiem it takes me to get people into treatment, satisfaction of the ct population as related by survey. I work in correctional mental health/substance abuse! It certainly motivates me.  

    • Anonymous

      If you look at the results of Federal test scores MSAD 22 has many high performing schools. So where is the raise??? It is with the administrators( 3 of them) who have received over 20% increases over the past 3 years.

  • Anonymous

    Evaluating teachers based on their own performance is a tricky situation in Maine since the actual evaluation process can’t be negotiated so as to be legally binding (26 MRSA 965, the “educational policy” exception).  If Mr. Neff is unaware of that provision of the law, he should call the Drummond-Woodsum law firm in Portland and interview any of their attorneys who deal with school system collective bargaining. 

    • Anonymous

      Mr. Neff should also do his research and ask why in a recession ( over the past 3 years) some administrators have received over 20% in pay increases. I do not know many business people who have received a 20% increase in the past 3 years…Do you?

  • Anonymous

    Up until I saw that the Federal Government was involved I thought it might work. The federal governments money will dictate how it is run and will have the last word..  What is never looked at is the Adminstrations. They hire Supers and the supers have control over everyone with the possibility of threats to the teachers.. If you want to fix the school put in a teachers board of that school and let them hire the supers and principles, Give the teachers power over the admin and you will see things change for the best.. People blame teachers when their hands are tied.. Look at Bangor the principle will retain his position after allergations of cheating on test. The supers and principles are untouchables and have way to much power to ruin a teachers life because the don’t like them. not because of preformance but maybe just what their last name is or because they want to hire a friend or relative for that postion..

    • Puts way to much pressure on teachers . How can i make test scores go up lets see Johnny and sally’s mom goes to methadone clinic and is on welfare. Those kids have poor test scores Hmmmmm Maybe we can just let them drop out of school? Ya sound like a plan . F for bad grade on the project . But I have not internet at home! I can not afford a poster board! I do not care an F.  Johnny drops out ends In jail . Sally drops out has 4 kids on welfare test scores go up lol Teacher gets his Raise .   I could happen .  Very few kids from the old Crestwood trailer Park finish Hamden HS. If teacher were allowed to care a bit more Most care a lot. Maybe some of those kids could make it.  It all about money and pressure from admin . Not about caring about the kids. 

  • Anonymous

    “Names  will be taken; butts will be kicked.” How can teachers be held accountable for those things that they have no control over? Teachers have no  control over  students’ genetics, nutrition, nurturing, television watching, school attendance, or  emotional and physical well-being. Yet teachers are going to be held accountable for the success of students on some politically motivated, huge profits driven, time consuming, unreliable evaluation…

    • I agree Teacher have little  control over student success . To me it is not all about test scores . I would bet Some UMaine  football players would not be in college if it was. Teach a kid to like learning and in the long run they will do better than just teaching to a test.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s a poser…..I was an English major with an minor in history…Sometimes the kids learned more history in my class than they did in the so-called social studies classes……..so when it comes to evaluation who gets the performance bonus ….?  Me or the social studies teacher?

  • My question would be: Is this 3% annual increase inclusive of the “step” increase teachers get each year they stay on the pay scale?  or is that an additional increase?  Most teachers on the pay scale get a step ( 2 -3% increase guaranteed) plus what ever the annual increase is.   Some teachers can get a rather large increase due to this. 

    • Anonymous

      If you look back a few years you will note that teachers voluntarily took NO raise to help the district while at the same time the superintendent did not take a raise but received another week of paid vacation( which amounted to over 2.000 dollars). 

  • Anonymous

    It sounds like the teachers are being well represented on this board….they have Ms. Simpson, who is a veteran teacher, actively participating in what will be final.

    • Anonymous

      Mrs. Simpson is NOT on the board and though she is on the negotiating team the school board chair Ms. Bickmore chose to override the authority of the bargaining committee and go directly to the teachers on April 8th 2012. 

      Ask any teacher what a fiasco that was . Ms.Kelly Bickmore was a poor speaker spending over 20 minutes talking about herself before opening up her meeting to questions for which she was totally unprepared. 

      People in the district should also be aware that she is running to be your state Representative. Ask a teacher about her before voting. If Ms. Kelly Bickmore were a teacher she would have been graded “F” on her performance at the April, 8th meeting( a meeting that she called). 

      • Anonymous

         Thank you for the information.  The reason I read the comment sections is to gather the real facts!

  • Anonymous

    Whatever happened  to collective bargaining.  Sounds to me like all the money and benefits was sucked up by management and the school board. The teachers and workers are left to fight among themselves for some performance coins that Lyons and Bickmore will throw at them.  It doesn’t sound very fair to me and I hope the school board will have the fortitude to speak up for our educators.

  • Anonymous

    I find it interesting that the details of this contract have not been brought to the teachers before this information was published.  The contract must be approved by the teachers before it is implemented.   A leader who is worth their weight will not accept any increase before those who he/she leads gets what they deserve.  MSAD #22 teachers used to be in the top 10 in teacher salaries in the State of Maine.  Presently, they are now in the” top” 30 while the Superintendent’s salary is one of the top 10 in the state.  Administrators are receiving bonuses while educators are paying for supplies out of their pocket and also volunteering many hours to benefit students for no compensation.  This is not a good way to build collegiality in an institution.  This is taught in Leadership 101, folks.

  • So seems like the schools who have students that come from higher income families get more money if the kids do better?  Are they held accountable for the kids who drop out? Let me see a disadvantaged kid might not test as well bring my scores down .  I get paid less (No raise) give them a lot of reason to care about those kids know dosen’t it? Well those are the kids we all end up paying for . Drop outs tend to not have steady jobs more likely to be on state Aid etc. The teacher in higher paid districts get paid bigger raises.  Now Bangor is one of the districts getting funding. Who lets look up teacher pay now. Dosen’t Hamden already have one of the most expensive HS. in the state? This will only hurt the kids that need help most . 

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