Teachers’ union, school committee reach contract agreement

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The sometimes contentious negotiations between teachers and the school committee appear to be over. -Abigail Rosen

After a lengthy and sometimes contentious battle between the Martha’s Vineyard Educators Association (MVEA) and the school district regarding teacher contracts, an agreement has finally been reached.

The terms of the deal have not been released, but the All-Island School Committee is scheduled to consider ratification of the contract at a meeting scheduled for Thursday at 6 pm.

Per an MVEA petition issued in April, Island school employees have been struggling to keep up with the changing economic climate, in addition to the Vineyard’s acute housing crisis, triggering the association to demand fair wages that correlate with the record high cost of living

Continuous wage disputes subsequently prompted the school district to attempt a contract renegotiation, in addition to proposing a change in school employee’s health insurance, which was met with frustration by the MVEA, as the changes offered small wage increases, and less substantial health coverage.

Numerous attempts at negotiation and mediation have, until now, been unsuccessful. 

Unable to share specifics just yet, Gina Patti, Oak Bluffs School teacher, MVEA co-president, and spokesperson for the teacher’s union in its negotiations with the school committee, confirmed that the pending deal struck has MVEA member support.

11 COMMENTS

    • Depends who you ask. One thing for sure is they are not under paid. In all of these negotiations the students are not considered it is all about benefits for the teachers. Preschool teachers would love to get paid half of what these long term teachers are being paid and they would be ahead of the game.

      • Generally speaking pre school teachers have less than half the qualifications of licensed teacher.
        A parallel is the difference between a Licensed Real Estate Broker and office staff.
        Or lawyer and paralegal.
        More than a two to one salary difference.

  1. The old contract has them max out at 108K a year. 185 days a year of work. Most people work at least 240 days with a two week vacation, many work more days. 6 Hrs a day. Few if any workers work less than 8 hrs a day in this country. It’s a hard job but there’s a lot of hard jobs out there. You be the judge. Oh , and virtually no management evaluation as to whether or not you are doing a good job! Once you are in, you have employment for life!

    • Dear John,
      Good teachers work more than 240 days a year.
      Good teachers work nights and weekends.
      Does the Island have good teachers?
      Back in the good old days teacher management was done directly by the School Committee.
      They would decide which family members and friends would have jobs.

      Employment for life?
      The Island teacher turn over rate is twice the national average.
      It takes three years to attain tenure.
      The status of where you have to be fired for cause, not because a School Committe member’s relative needs a job.
      Those who can teach do.
      Those who can’t think they are overpaid.

    • John, those who work 240 days per year also have the opportunity to make more money by either raising their rates, or working more hours for OT. Teachers don’t have that option. Teachers are educated, many with advanced degrees, like plumbers, electricians, contractors, and businessmen and women. The differences is, those individuals have the option to raise their rates if they need more money to make ends meet as the market allows, or expand their business, teachers can’t do that. If you are comparing individuals who work as a laborer with no formal education, you are comparing apples to oranges, and many of those individuals may even make more than teachers.

      Teachers didn’t go into teaching to become wealthy but they do need to make a living and afford housing or we will lose them. Most teachers work second jobs in order to make ends meet. Take a look at your representatives and senators and what they make, there is no comparison. Your children deserve qualified, dedicated teachers, if you don’t pay them you will lose them. This community gives over $2 million dollars in scholarships every year to our students, remember, it was their teachers who put in the hours of work and years of knowledge and experience that helped them get those scholarships. Let’s put some effort to help them just make it here, they aren’t asking to be millionaires.

    • I am a teacher. I appreciate my income. I don’t work less than 8 hours a day. In fact, I work an average of 10-12 hours a day, 7 in school and 3-5 after school ends, either in my classroom or in my home. We are contracted to work 8-3. We cannot get our work done in that time. Many of us have “duties” – bus, hall monitor, etc – at 8 am so must arrive prior to that. Because we have been unable to hire an adequate number of staff members, many of us have to give up our planning time during school to cover for other teachers who are absent. At least one afternoon we have a staff meeting until 4. I plan and grade and prepare at home in the evening and on weekends. I take required courses in the summer, have taught summer school, and been an advisor who has spent countless hours fundraising with students during the summer. We also have an extensive evaluation system in place each year, requiring SMART Goals, unannounced walk through observations, as well as formal observations. Additionally, we must provide evidence of student growth, meeting our SMART goals, and extra work we do in order to prove that we are good teachers. Tenure is not a thing anymore. We obtain professional status after 3 years in the classroom, with a professional license and a Masters in Education. This does not mean we have employment for life. It means that there must be just cause for termination and evidence supporting it. Of course there are other hard jobs out there. We, as humans, are able to multi-task. It is, in fact, possible for there to be many difficult jobs out there, some with excellent pay and some with insufficient pay. Teachers getting what we deserve does not preclude others from also getting what they deserve. I am not the exception. I am the standard. And there are many who put in significantly more time than I do. And to the contrary of the statement above saying that nothing is said about the kids: It has plenty to do with the kids. We have had 3 applicants offered one teaching job this year. 3 accepted. 3 backed out. The position is still not filled. Because they can’t afford to live here, even with the current contract. If we can’t get teachers here, education suffers and students don’t receive the education they deserve. There are few licensed teachers on this island who aren’t already employed. Our contract must be good enough to entice off island teachers to relocate to an island with no housing and a boat that, at best, is undependable.

      If you would like to meet for coffee to discuss, please feel free to let me know. I’d be happy to provide you with the truths of the job instead of the myths you are choosing to spread.

  2. Its a supply/demand issue and a Union issue. If one third of teachers simply disappeared and got raptured into the clouds, you can be sure salaries would go up. Teachers in large part are not evaluated for performance, and many teachers lament that parents are not in the game to help educate their own kids. Parents who are ”friends” to their children will not have a good outcome.

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