New Rockland-area teachers’ contract grants raises, discourages absenteeism

Posted June 06, 2014, at 9:07 a.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — Teachers in the Rockland-area school district will see their pay increase but the new labor pact also stresses the board’s concern that some faculty members have used too much sick time.

The Regional School Unit 13 board voted Thursday night to approve a three-year contract with the Seacoast Education Association, which represents about 200 teachers. The association has already approved the deal.

With step increases included, pay for teachers for 2013-2014 will increase 2.2 percent, retroactive to the start of the current school year. The pay will increase 3 percent in 2014-2015 and slightly more than 3 percent in 2015-2016.

The previous contract, which expired last year, has a pay scale that ranges from $34,497 to $60,800 for a teacher with at least 19 years of experience and 15 credits beyond a master’s degree. The new pact will raise the scale by 2015-2106 to $36,250 for new faculty members and $63,889 for the top.

There are no changes in health benefits. The district pays 100 percent of the health insurance premiums for the employee and 75 percent of the difference between an individual policy and a family policy.

The contract, however, includes a statement that the board raised the concern about “excessive absenteeism by some members of the bargaining unit.” Teachers who miss three or more consecutive days due to their illness or a family member’s illness must submit a note from a health care provider or they may be denied their sick pay.

The contract also includes a change beginning in 2015-2016 that will allow the district administration to lay off teachers first if they have ineffective ratings on their personnel evaluations. Currently if a position is cut from the budget, the teacher with the least seniority in the subject area is the first to lose the job.

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