Members of the BHEA’s negotiating committee have begun meeting with the school committee to arrive at a new contract for teachers. Once a settlement is reached, all BHEA members and agency fee payers shall be invited to attend a meeting to learn the details of the new contract and to vote to accept it. The negotiations committee has members from each of the district’s schools. The members are BHEA president Dan Gray, vice-president Pat Garbacik, treasurer Eileen Christman (MMRHS), vice-president Tom Hatch, Melissa Farrell (Searles), Marty Rolf, Mike Vecchia, and Ann Kinne (Stockbridge). See your school’s representatives if you have a question on negotiations.
BHEA Settles Open House Dispute
President Dan Gray and Executive Secretary Bill Mooney met informally with MMRHS principal Marianne Young to discuss a dispute over the hours for Open House at the high school. The hours in past years were 6 – 8 P.M., but this past November the hours were announced as 6 – 8:30 P.M. Dan and Bill pointed out that any changes made in Open House schedules must be made only after discussion and a vote by the faculty involved agreeing to the changes. Mrs. Young said the hours came out of the end of the year calendar meeting with teachers. She recognized, however, that that group was not representative of the entire faculty. She agreed to change the hours back to 6 – 8 P.M., to post notices around the school announcing the change, and to announce the times over the P.A. system. Dan and Bill thanked Mrs. Young for her cooperative manner in resolving this dispute.
BHEA Assists R.I.F.’d Teacher
After learning her position was going to be eliminated due to declining enrollment, a professional status teacher appealed to the BHEA for help. Because she was wondering about what financial packets would be available to her, Dan Gray, Bill Mooney and she met with district business administrator Matt Gillis. During that meeting, Mr. Gillis helped the teacher explore all the options available to her. She could retire from the district in June with no severance package, collect unemployment for 30 weeks then retire from the district; retire from the district with a termination benefit; or retire from the district with a severance packet, collect unemployment (if the package does not affect the unemployment benefits), and retire from the state after the unemployment expires. She is in the process of examining her options. She told BHEA representatives, “I felt so alone when this first happened. It is really great to know I am not alone.” She thanked Bill and Dan for their help and concern.
BHEA Working on Dispute Involving Department Supervisors
While investigating the circumstances behind the teacher who was being R.I.F.’d, Dan Gray and Bill Mooney discovered the decision to eliminate the position was made with no involvement by a district K – 12 department supervisor. In fact, other than BHEA officials, no one has approached the supervisor to notify him the position is being eliminated. The department supervisors’ job descriptions state they will be involved in matters involving curriculum and staffing. Past practice has demonstrated that supervisors have been involved in such discussions and are expected to support their budgets at the school committee budget meetings. The BHEA believes that proper protocol was not followed during the elimination of the teacher’s position and has found that no meetings have been held with supervisors to discuss the needs of the physical education, art and music departments in the new middle and elementary schools. The BHEA is trying to set up a meeting with superintendent Donna Moyer to attempt to informally resolve this matter. Stay tuned for further news.
Bill and Dan met with Mrs. Donna Moyer, superintendent, to discuss the role of the K – 12 supervisors. She agreed they should be involved in discussions affecting their departments. She said she would arrange group meeting among the supervisors and the building administrators. She also said she would bring the matter up during the next administrators meeting. Another issue resolved through informal discussions.