JAMESTOWN SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING
Lawn Avenue School
September 6, 2007
Present: Catherine Kaiser, Chairperson
Present: Dr. Marcia Lukon, Superintendent
Dr. Robert Fricklas, Director of Pupil Services
Maria Alfred, Business Manager
Kathleen Almanzor, Principal
The School Committee returned from a 6:00 p.m. Executive Session pursuant to RIGL 42-46-5 Exception 9, Level III Grievance and announced that a unanimous roll call vote had been taken at which time it had been agreed to seal the minutes of the executive session.
Call to Order: Ms. Kaiser called the work session to order at 7:10 p.m. and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Kaiser called the Roll Call.
Members present: All Present.
Public Forum: None.
Consent Agenda: None.
Jamestown Teachers Association Contract, Vote. Ms. Kaiser announced that the JTA (Jamestown Teachers Association) membership had approved the contract that afternoon. Following is a summery of the substantive changes in the 2007-2010 contract:
● Job share language was revised to specify that job sharers be Jamestown School teachers whenever feasible. Previous language allowed teachers to share a job with a partner from outside the system (contingent upon school committee approval).
● Health care: The revision in health care provisions is the most significant change, representing a cooperative agreement between the two sides to share the burden of the district’s current health insurance premium increase. The negotiating teams considered several options to achieve the savings necessary to offset the yearly increase in premium costs. The two primary options included (1) raising the teacher co-share (percentage contribution to the cost of the premium); or (2) increasing the subscriber co-pay for visits to physician, specialists, urgi-care centers and the emergency room (with the highest increase being for ER visits). The two sides agreed to move to a higher co-pay structure in order to achieve savings equivalent to half the premium increase. The school committee will assist JTA members in transitioning to the new, higher co-pay structure by reimbursing a portion of member co-pays for urgi-care and ER visits during the term of this contract. Total yearly reimbursements during the transition period will be capped at $5000 for the entire bargaining unit and will end on June 30, 2010.
● The two sides also agreed to language that will allow the school committee –with mutual consent of the Jamestown Teachers Association – to change health care carriers, thereby increasing the incentive for carriers to price premiums competitively.
● Salaries: Salary discussions took place within the new parameters set by the descending tax cap passed by the legislature in June (i.e., a cap on the tax levy that will decrease each year through 2013, thereby impacting the number of dollars available for percentage salary raises).
Negogiated salary percentage increases follow:
2007-08 – 3.5%
2008-09 – 3.25%
2009-10 – 3.25%
● In addition, recognizing that Jamestown’s salary increments (i.e., incremental payments for educational degrees and course work beyond a BA) are significantly lower than those offered by other RI school districts, the school committee agreed to increase increments by $150 in 2007-08; $100 in 2008-09; and $100 in 2009-10.
● Finally, the school committee increased coaches’ stipends from $700 to $900; and added a $750 stipend for a wellness coach, a position that will support the initiatives of the district’s state required Health and Wellness Committee.
● NEARI representative Peter Gingras added that the committee and teachers association agreed upon language defining the length of the teacher work day in the event that the school day is lengthened by the Department of Education.
Ms. Kaiser asked for a motion to approve the JTA Contract. Julie Kallfelz so moved and Mr. Brennan seconded the motion with a request for discussion of the contract.
Mr. Brennan thanked both negotiating teams. He stated that he has mixed feelings about where we are and what we are putting onto the tax rolls for increases. He states that we have very low class sizes here in Jamestown and one of the expectations of the taxpayers in Jamestown with these low class sizes is an expectation for excellent performance. We do very well but we can always do better. There is a limit to what people will tolerate for tax or salary increases. We need to be cognizant of the fact that in some years as we go forward we may need to teach larger classrooms. We are a small district and cannot just add a teacher when we don’t have the teacher and the teacher assistant in the budget unless we can prove to the community that we can perform to the level of an East Greenwich or Barrington. We are gauged against other communities. Mr. Brennan is struggling with where we are financially and what is coming before us and how the structure of our contracts are for increases for teachers pay given the fact that they have risen fairly significantly. Both the committee and the teachers have worked very hard on this contract and Mr. Brennan acknowledges that Rome cannot be built in a day. Ms. Kaiser agrees and states that the JTA made a concerted effort to meet with them in the area of health care, an area which was considered a priority and where changes made will save tax dollars. A roll call vote was taken on the JTA Contract and all approved.
Groundwork for Strategic Planning:
Dr. Lukon states that in order to move forward with a new plan we need achievement data from the State to bring closure to our last plan. We need a way to evaluate the progress that we’ve made over the course of the plan. Dr. Lukon says that Dr. Fricklas has a wealth of experience and can help bring one plan to closure and start another. Dr. Fricklas states that the Strategic Plan is the most vital document we have and is the over arching document that drives everything including how the RI Department of Education awards school funding.
It is agreed that the individuals or groups responsible for action plans will be asked to report on the status of those actions. and that the administrative team and the school committee will invite the original strategic planning committee members to a meeting at which the status of all action plans will be disclosed.
It was also decided that Dr. Lukon will meet with the administrative team and generate a timeline for report deadlines and the addition of state test results and SALT results.
A new strategic planning committee will be formed. There was a discussion on who should be involved in the new plan. Dr. Lukon says that we need support from the community. The original group consisted of a broad based participation of approximately 34 people and included everyone who responded with an interest. Both Dr. Lukon and the School Committee also underscored the importance of recruiting faculty members to serve on the committee. Phil Capaldi, JTA president, agreed and said providing substitutes would enable interested teachers to serve in this capacity.
The school committee agreed that the fall was the best time to evaluate the current plan and the optimal timing for the new strategic planning sessions would be in late April or early May.
Dr. Lukon also reported that she has spoken to a facilitator with whom both she and Dr. Fricklas have worked with in the past who if working with us will help to define our action plans.
Public Forum: None
Adjourned: Mr. Dolce moved and Mr. Brennan seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:10 p.m. So moved.
THE AFOREMENTIONED MINUTES ARE HEREBY APPROVED.
Chairperson, Jamestown School Committee Date