November 27, 2014
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Committee ratifies 2-year teacher agreement
Matt Bower and John Howell

Following a yearlong extension of the prior Warwick Teachers Union (WTU) contract, which expired last Friday, the School Committee approved a two-year agreement, which runs from Sept. 1, 2012 through Aug. 31, 2014, during a special meeting Tuesday night. The vote was 4-1, with Eugene Nadeau voting against.

When the prior three-year contract ran out on Aug. 31, 2011, the WTU agreed to a yearlong extension of that contract, with a change from paying $11 per week to a 20-percent co-share of premium for health and dental insurance for a $1.9 million savings and no wage increase.

The new agreement retains all terms and conditions of the 2009-2012 collective bargaining agreement with the following changes: an increase in wages only, including a 1 percent raise for the 2012-13 school year and a 1.5 percent raise for the 2013-14 year, with raises due on the first day of the school year; annual 20 percent co-share on health and dental insurance capped at this year’s 20 percent rates that all school employees are paying; reducing classroom weighting at the junior high level for special education students from 2 to 1.5, to be in line with current weighting levels at the elementary and high school levels; giving the superintendent the authority to notify teachers who have two consecutive years of unsatisfactory evaluations within the previous two years that they cannot attend the job fair; and continuing to use the R.I. Model Evaluation instrument, which was piloted last year.

Rosemary Healy, director of human services and legal counsel for the school committee, added, “For purposes of non-renewal, suspension, layoff or termination, the old [evaluation] instrument must also be used.”

Healy said the parties would attempt to negotiate Warwick’s own evaluation instrument for 2013-14 “consistent with Regents’ regulations and subject to ride approval, as necessary.”

“If such an agreement is agreed to and approved as necessary, it will replace the R.I. Model,” she said.

Superintendent Peter Horoschak is relieved to have a contract resolved. He said yesterday that one of the district’s top concerns was the financial impact of the contract and that between the extension of the 20 percent health care co-pay and raises for this and next year, “we now know what we have to plan for.”

As the department planned for a 20 percent co-payment based on the contract extension reached a year ago, those savings were built into the current budget. Had the payment reverted to the $11-a-week co-payment of the prior contract, the department would have to come up with an additional $1,920,000.

But the current budget also does not account for any raises. The 1 percent raise the School Committee agreed to will cost an additional $859,000 this year. Next year, the second and final year of the contract, teachers will get a 1.5 percent pay increase, amounting to an additional $1.3 million.

Horoschak is confident the money will be there to pay teacher raises this year.

While the number could change because of encumbrances made in the last fiscal year, he said the department is headed to finishing the year with a surplus of about $1.6 million. This would be carried over into the current year.

Contract language dealing with the weighting of special education students could have an impact on future budgets, but not this year, Horoschak said. When arriving at classroom enrollments, students with an individual education plan (IEP) are counted as 1.5 at the elementary and high school level. At the junior high level, they are counted as two students. This weighting serves to reduce class sizes as the maximum under the contract is reached sooner. The result is that the department must create more classes, thereby hiring more teachers and teacher assistants.

Under the agreement, junior high school students with an IEP will also be counted as 1.5.

“I’m pleased to see it is consistent across the board for all levels,” Horoschak said.

Healy said the change in weighting could result in additional staff savings because it will achieve more efficient scheduling at the junior high level, but added it’s difficult to project an estimate until firmer enrollment and IEP numbers are gathered.

The agreement does not change the maximum number of layoffs, which is 20, but it does address teacher evaluations. The union has been vocal in questioning the evaluation system being modeled by the district as part of statewide changes being made with Race to the Top federal funding. The district could be put in the position of having state-directed changes in conflict with the contract. Horoschak said there is a provision for Warwick to adopt its own regulations with Rhode Island Department of Education and Board of Regents approval.

Overall, Horoschak said the agreement “starts our school year off in a very positive way.”

Not everyone was so enthusiastic. Eugene Nadeau said he wasn’t happy with the agreement and cast the lone vote against it.

“I’m not feeling well about this contract because I believe the union members are in control of the Warwick school system and I believe that’s unfair to the students, parents and taxpayers of Warwick,” he said. “In a sea of whales, we landed a minnow.”

Nadeau said he felt the school committee was “surrendering” to the WTU by only making what he saw as three changes to the WTU’s 54-page contract. He said he would have liked to see teacher seniority eliminated.

“How do you coincide an evaluation system with that,” he asked.

Before casting his vote, Nadeau reassured the teachers his position was not a personal vendetta against them.

“The teachers I’ve met know how much I appreciate what they do for our students and our school system, and this contract won’t stop that,” he said. “I believe we’ve been fair to teachers, administration and staff, but I believe our $157 million budget won’t be reduced by this contract, and that’s unfair.”

Nadeau, who has two grandchildren enrolled at John Brown Francis, asked what would happen to them when they graduate from Pilgrim in nine to 10 years.

“How can we look our graduates in the eye, knowing we’re in the process of mortgaging their future? It’s not fair to our children and grandchildren that look to us to not give them that kind of life,” he said. “My heart aches because I was not able to do enough when the opportunity was there to help students. It grieves me.”

Fellow committee member Christopher Friel said he could sympathize with Nadeau.

“I’m not ecstatic with this contract, but I feel it wasn’t a fair negotiation if you have one side leaving the negotiation feeling ecstatic,” he said. “I do believe this is fair. This is expenditure-neutral at worst, and at best we could save some money.”

Friel said there’s another benefit to the agreement.

“We have the benefit of a work force that is in action, participating in school operations, and even though you can’t put a dollar amount on that, it’s worthwhile to go forward with that,” he said. “I can leave here knowing in my heart this is a fair agreement and it’s in the best interest of the district.”

Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Maloney said the department wouldn’t be where it is now without the prior one-year agreement.

“Over the last few weeks, the [school committee] chair [Beth Furtado] and legal counsel worked hard with the teachers union to get this done. It’s a good thing for schools, students and teachers,” he said. “We don’t always see eye to eye, but I feel we met in the middle and this will help with budgets in the coming year, which will benefit students.”

Maloney said he never wants to have to cut programs for students.

“I’m hopeful this is a step in the right direction for everyone,” he said.

Reached yesterday before the membership had an opportunity to see the contract or vote on it, action that was taken at 3:30 p.m. at Toll Gate, Warwick Teachers Union President James Ginolfi said he believes the agreement is “fair and reasonable for all parties.” He went on to name those parties as the teachers, parents, students and the taxpayers.

“It’s a win for everyone,” he said.


Comments
28 comments on this item

What a disgrace. Another bad contract for the taxpayers negotiated by Rosemary Healy. She has to be replaced.

Mr. Mahoney....you lost my vote. Stop your union pandering and for once represent the taxpayers. Thank you Mr.Nadeau....you are a credit to the people of Warwick who elected you. You understand the concerns of the taxpayers and want to stop the greed of the union.

Another horrible conract by 4 members of the school committee.

This contract saves us $2+ million each year at a minimum.

I fought for 4 years to get a 20% co-pay for the taxpayers and we got it. I fought to get the WISE union to pay 20% for their copay and we got it. Administration pays a 20% co-pay. I fought to keep taxes down for 4 years and they have not gone up due to the school budget and they won't go up again due to the school budget. Please take the time to look at the numbers, the facts don't lie. Here is another fact, if the teachers did not agree to an extension last year we would currently be $2 million in the hole right now. I have kept within the budget for 4 years despite having our budget cut $12 million by the city over the last 2 years and paying back the city the $3.2 million deficit that was here when I entered office.

I commend Mr Nadeau for his feelings and understand that he wanted to make 90+ changes to a contract in one year when those changes were put in over 50 years, before I arrived. I have not and do not pander to any group. If you have been to School Committee meetings, you would know that I always thank people for doing something because I am polite and this is the way I was raised. They did something good for the city and I thanked them, that is all. This was only one sentence pulled out from several minutes of speaking. This contract is good for the city. At the end of 2 years, we will be ahead and every year after that. Remember that the school committee was the first to ask for and get a more for a co-pay. We lead the charge and the city is seeing results because of our leadership. Had we not voted for this we would have been in court and returned to $11/ $28 dollars a week (not an amount I voted for, this was in prior to my arrival on the committee).

My comment was also meant to thank the school committee chair and our legal council for meeting for several months with the WTU despite erroneous reports by the Warwick Beacon. In the last 2 months, it was reported that we had not been negotiating. That is not the case.

Finally, in response to your comment that "for once" I represent the taxpayer, feel free review the meeting minutes of the School committee meetings. You will see that I have made appropriate cuts, funded what was necessary to run the schools, proposed a 25% co-pay and a cut to all salaries several times in the last 4 years. I have been the person to propose nearly every increase in co-share and to cut raises in the budget every year. I have represented the taxpayers with every vote I have taken including the 2 year contract.

We are not Central Falls, Providence, East Providence or Woonsocket and we are not in danger of bankruptcy due to the school budget so despite the words of 1 member of our committee saying we could have gotten more, we could and probably would have lost everything and been in the same boat as other cities in the state. I do not want to be the next Central Falls. I believe for the first time ever, the teachers did not get retroactive pay for last year and they took a 1% raise for this year that will be paid for in the current budget without raising taxes. They will get a 1.5% raise next year that will be achieved without raising taxes, it will be in the budget.

I would say that these accomplishments speak for themselves and show that I have worked hard for the Students, Parents and Taxpayers of the city of Warwick as I said I would 4 years ago. I am running for School Committee again and hope to be re-elected. I live here and would never put my needs before the needs of the community.

I would be happy to meet with you to discuss this further at anytime. Feel free to contact me Patrick@Maloney4Schools.com or Maloneyp@warwickschools.org.

Sincerely,

Patrick Maloney Jr.

This contract saves us $2+ million each year at a minimum.

I fought for 4 years to get a 20% co-pay for the taxpayers and we got it. I fought to get the WISE union to pay 20% for their copay and we got it. Administration pays a 20% co-pay. I fought to keep taxes down for 4 years and they have not gone up due to the school budget and they won't go up again due to the school budget. Please take the time to look at the numbers, the facts don't lie. Here is another fact, if the teachers did not agree to an extension last year we would currently be $2 million in the hole right now. I have kept within the budget for 4 years despite having our budget cut $12 million by the city over the last 2 years and paying back the city the $3.2 million deficit that was here when I entered office.

I commend Mr Nadeau for his feelings and understand that he wanted to make 90+ changes to a contract in one year when those changes were put in over 50 years, before I arrived. I have not and do not pander to any group. If you have been to School Committee meetings, you would know that I always thank people for doing something because I am polite and this is the way I was raised. They did something good for the city and I thanked them, that is all. This was only one sentence pulled out from several minutes of speaking. This contract is good for the city. At the end of 2 years, we will be ahead and every year after that. Remember that the school committee was the first to ask for and get a more for a co-pay. We lead the charge and the city is seeing results because of our leadership. Had we not voted for this we would have been in court and returned to $11/ $28 dollars a week (not an amount I voted for, this was in prior to my arrival on the committee).

My comment was also meant to thank the school committee chair and our legal council for meeting for several months with the WTU despite erroneous reports by the Warwick Beacon. In the last 2 months, it was reported that we had not been negotiating. That is not the case.

Finally, in response to your comment that "for once" I represent the taxpayer, feel free review the meeting minutes of the School committee meetings. You will see that I have made appropriate cuts, funded what was necessary to run the schools, proposed a 25% co-pay and a cut to all salaries several times in the last 4 years. I have been the person to propose nearly every increase in co-share and to cut raises in the budget every year. I have represented the taxpayers with every vote I have taken including the 2 year contract.

We are not Central Falls, Providence, East Providence or Woonsocket and we are not in danger of bankruptcy due to the school budget so despite the words of 1 member of our committee saying we could have gotten more, we could and probably would have lost everything and been in the same boat as other cities in the state. I do not want to be the next Central Falls. I believe for the first time ever, the teachers did not get retroactive pay for last year and they took a 1% raise for this year that will be paid for in the current budget without raising taxes. They will get a 1.5% raise next year that will be achieved without raising taxes, it will be in the budget.

I would say that these accomplishments speak for themselves and show that I have worked hard for the Students, Parents and Taxpayers of the city of Warwick as I said I would 4 years ago. I am running for School Committee again and hope to be re-elected. I live here and would never put my needs before the needs of the community.

I would be happy to meet with you to discuss this further at anytime. Feel free to contact me Patrick@Maloney4Schools.com or Maloneyp@warwickschools.org.

Sincerely,

Patrick Maloney Jr.

Here is an estimate. A 1% increase in pay for the teachers represents about $859,000. With approximately 1000 teachers, this represents $859 increase in pay this year. Going from $11 a pay period to 20% co-pay is an increase approximately $1920 for the same teacher. 1920-859= $1061 extra savings per teacher for each year. For teachers who originally paid $11 per pay period this is a savings of $1.9 Million. Being able to move from 2.0 weighting for Jr high schools to 1.5 weighting with a conservative estimate of a reduction in 5 teacher positions saves us, conservatively, $400,000 each year. With more reductions, there would be more savings.

Savings allow us to buy new books, new computers, put a roof on a school and make repairs. It also allows us to keep taxes down and hopefully keep more people in their homes. The taxpayer of Warwick has NOT had taxes raised in the last 4 years due to the school budget. We have had level or cut funding for the last 4 years.

how can you raise taxes and then give teachers a pay raise somthings wrong with that picture

kids should not be using computers in school

Congrats to Patrick Maloney. The only problem with the new contract is the continuation of the unique sick leave policy of 90 days per year.

Mr. Maloney, i stand by my statement "you lost my vote." The school committee should have insisted when they agreed to the 20% healthcare copay originally that it would never be less than that. The committee had all the cards and you squandered them.

Weighting should have been eliminated years ago. What about 90 days for sick leave....did you touch it? How about step increases....a thing of the past?

Did you or Rosemary Healy negotiate thje contract? Healy is always concerned about teachers' work to rule etc. She has demonstrated appeasement towards the teachers for over 20 yrs. Did she go to you, Mederios and Furtado to get your approval without contacting Mr. Friel and Mr. Nadeau?Disgraceful....the school committee represents the taxpayers....not Healy.

A horrible contract for the taxpayers....a contract Avedisian would be proud of.

No computers in the schools, what are we in the 1920's.

Class weighting should be the same across the state. As I understand it, Warwick is the only city to count IEP's at 1.5 students. So the city ends up with 4 times as many IEP's as Cranston. The more IEP's, the more teachers. Warwick labels kids with a learning dissability that doesn't exist.

So let me get this straight. The School Committee agreed to a two year contract with the eachers union that foramized the exisiting 20% healthcare co-pay (which resulted in no savings or expense) and granted pay increases of 1% and 11/2% resulting in an additional $2.1 million. There are some savings in the second year due to a change to the weighting formula nest year but those savings are not known at this time. (the unique weighting provision still exists).

Funny, the City was able to negotiate the 20% co-pay while agreeing to a three year conract with no raises.

I'm glad to read the cooments of chool Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Mahoney that state the School Committee will not be seeking any increase in local taxes to pay for this contract. Let's see what happens when the School Department submits its budget to he City next spring. Oh by the way, it's interesting that Mr. Mahoney says that he has represented the taxpayers on every vote he's taken. Does that include the vote to sue the City for $6.2 milion. Isn't that like suing the taxpayers?

The taxpayers have had their taxes raised every year for the last 4 years as a result of over spending on the city side. The 20% co-pay was for 1 year only and it would have reverted back to $11. We would have lost in court.

Fedup1, removing weighting has been tried for 20 years and in 20 years it hasn't happened. This committee after 20 years got it to change. The committee had some cards and the legal system of RI favors the unions in these situations. East Providence 5 years ago achieved a ruling and it is still being contested in court. If they lose it will be the next Central falls. I will not comment publicly on Rosemary Healey or her performance. Rosemary Healey and Beth Furtado were the members of our side for the negotiation. Beth reported back to the committee after a negotiation meeting. No more than 2 members of the committee can sit in a negotiation because it would violate the State open meetings law.

I'm not happy about the 90 day sick policy. It is a shared pool of sick days. I know very few, if any, that have use the sick days, most went through a traumatic accident or were deathly ill. Our new evaluation system will allow us to review anyone we believe is taking advantage of the system and will allow us to take action as we have never had the opportunity before. So although the sick time policy itself is still there, we have the ability to remove someone who is not sick but is using sick days. The evaluation system was negotiated in this contract.

The State of RI is the body that instituted Step Increases. It is a law and Warwick can't choose to not follow it.

Warwick is the only city to use weighting but State law requires every school district to provide special education. Warwick Schools does not set the parameters of what is considered a special education need, the State and Federal government sets these regulations, again we have to follow them. If Warwick didn't use weighting we would be required to do something else. This is something I questioned when I first arrived on the committee. If we didn't have weighting we would have to hire additional support staff, more teachers assistants which would include more salaries and benefits for more people. Eliminating weighting completely would not save money, it would cost the same but the money would have to be spent a different way.

As far as the comparison to Cranston. We have 3% more special education students than Cranston. 3% of 12000 is 360 more special education students. The average cost of educating a special education student 2-4 times the cost of educating a non-special education student, 26-50K. the average being 38K. 38K * 360 students = $13.6 million. I don't want to spend more than Cranston but people know we have a good Special education program and we can not turn people away.

perky 4175, the schools have not caused the taxes to go up, the city give aways have caused the taxes to go up. I was tired of having my taxes go up and watching my neighbors move away because they couldn't afford to live here. My own parents moved out of RI years ago and my kids are growing up without their grandparents around because the taxes in RI are out of control and there is out of control spending.

GordonKnot, the savings was in not having to not return to $11, an amount that was in the contract prior to my arrival. Returning to $11 would have cost $2+ million. It would have reverted back. We could have fought it in court for 5 years and then been required to pay back $10 million plus losing the cost of legal expenses. The city would not have been able to negotiate a 20% copay if the schools have not already implemented it with the WISE union and was on the way to implementing it permanently with the teachers. If the teachers ever sue the schools and win, we will never go back to $11, it will not go below 20%. The city side has an unfunded liability of 100s of millions of dollars. The schools have the funds for employees who retire and at age 65 they are no longer paid by the schools at all.

I will not be seeking an increase for additional funding due to this contract. If additional funding is needed it will be for costs that increase every year like gas, oil, a maintenance cost like a roof repair, not to pay for this contract. We have done millions of dollars on building maintenance for buildings we don't own, I want to be taking care of education and not continuously repairing buildings. I would prefer to have the City be the landlord of the buildings and take care of repairs.

I would like to share services with the city and find a savings there too. I believe technology savings can be achieved if we work together with the city.

Please feel free to email me at patrick@maloney4schools.com or maloneyp@warwickschools.org. Patrick Maloney Jr.

Mr. Maloney:

Your comment about the step raises is not accurate. Rhode Island law requires that teachers receive a step raise, but the law does not require a specific percentage increase. Where in the Rhode Island General Laws does it state that Warwick is required to provide a 10% step raise every year for the first ten years of employment. Where does Warwick's step raise stand in relation to the other cities and towns in Rhode Island?

Mr. Maloney,

Thank you for clarifying my post on IEP's. 3% more doesn't sound like much, but 360 sure does. The cost of educating those 360 is the same as 720 non-IEP students. Its great that we have a good special ed program, but I would rather have high schools that ranked higher than 22, 29 and 37 in the state. Do you know the Special Education budgets for both towns?

And the school comitee does desrve credit for not being a part of the tax increases. I think that most if not all of the tax increases have gone to cover post retirement obligations on the towns side. And nobody can believe that is sustainable. I think the rate has gone from $12.48ish in 2006 to $18.70ish today.

Fedup1's comments are a disgrace. He apparently doesn't understand what it means to negotiate. You can never make everyone happy and that includes the taxpayers. Teachers paying a 20% co-pay is very consistent with most of the towns in the state. The teachers haven't received raises in 5 years. People need to understand that the majority of teachers have masters degrees and are in professional positions. Most other professionals with the same amount of schooling receive much more for their service. The problem is that teachers are paid by taxes; however, that is not their fault. I have 2 students in the Warwick school system and from what I have seen they deserve every penny they receive. I think your attention should be focused on the 6% increase that all the administrators received last year. I could see 1 or 2 % but 6?

Mr. Nadeau has his opinions, which every politician does, but he does not understand how to negotiate. This is the problem with this country. There are two sides on every issue and nobody wants to compromise.

I applaud Mr. Maloney for compromising for the best interest of Warwick tax payers and the students You may have lost the vote of Fedup1, but you gained mine.

To patientman:

It is sometimes difficult to compare one city to another. I have done several comparisons over the years. One comparison is just looking at the Sq miles for Warwick compared to Cranston. We have the same number of students but because of the airport, our students are more spread out. State law requires that no student be on a bus more than 1 hour. This requires us to have more buses. Each bus costs approximately $55,000. If we need 10 more buses, this means we are automatically $550,000 more than cranston for transportation. We have the same number of students but this cost is higher.

I have used www.rikidscount.org to compare Cranston and Warwick. They have a lot of data. You just need to find the information you need. Here is a link http://www.rikidscount.org/matriarch/MultiPiecePage.asp_Q_PageID_E_105_A_PageName_E_DataIntro

According to Kidscount, Warwick has 2103 total students with disabilities (21%) and Cranston has 1664 total students with disabilites (16%). This is a difference of 5%. There was only a 3% difference the previous year. According to Kids count we have 439 more special education students than Cranston.

http://www.rikidscount.org/matriarch/documents/12_Factbook_Indicator_56.pdf

Check out page 132 and 133.

Thank you Taxpayer2. I voted against every raise for administration over the last 4 years except one. The one I voted for gave a 1.5% raise to administrators. I voted for it because had I voted against it, they would have received a 3% raise. This vote was in late 2010. I do not believe that administrators received a 6% raise last year. I would have never voted for it. We had a few administrators change positions and we eliminated other administrator positions. The new position may have had a higher rate of pay but it was only after eliminating and/or consolidating another position.

Patrick Maloney

As a side note, I believe I am one of very few public officials who actively answers questions on websites. I am glad to be able to put out additional information. I know that everyone will not agree with the decision but I am glad I was able to better explain the process that was used to make the decision.

Feel free to email for any additional information. patrick@maloney4schools.com or maloneyp@warwickschools.org.

Mr. Maloney.....you say a lot but you haven't answered the question why you voted for another lousy teachers' contract. I don't want to hear about the school committee for 20 yrs. tried to eliminate weighing. I can hear Healy saying this is the best contract we can get, we don't want a strike etc. Mr. Maloney...will you ask for Healy's resignation? Let start there. She runs the school dept. that for the last 20 yrs. has given us these union friendly contracts.

You sat on the school committee when the WISE union should have been shown the door. You talked big and did nothing.

You said the new contract would cost the taxpayers anything....why didn't you do something novel and return money to the taxpayers.

The school committee needs more members like Mr. Nadeau who represent the taxpayers. Show pro=union Healy the door.

FedUp1, It is obvious to me that I am unable to satisfy you with answers and you would prefer to attack me anonymously. I have answered the question, I do not believe this is a lousy contract for the schools. You disagree but I do not believe that you have looked at everything. Do more things have to change? Absolutely! If we went to court, we would have lost, especially in this union favoring judicial system that we have in RI. We would have lost $2+ million every year we fought. If we fought 5 years we would have lost $10 Million and then we would be bankrupt and you would possibly get all the changes you want and a bankrupt city. That is not the financially responsible thing to do.

I have offered to have a discussion with you via email twice. You would prefer to attack me and any one else who does not agree with you. I have gone through previous comments you have left on the Beacon website and this seems to be your method of operation. I do not believe that I will be able to give you satisfactory answers no matter how much information I put here. If you would like to have a conversation in person I would welcome it. If you would prefer to hide behind your screen name that is fine. I will not discuss personnel publicly online.

It is obvious you do not like Ms. Healey and it is not my job to convince you otherwise. I will only say this, Ms. Healey does not control the committee and you should hold every committee that voted to give away the store before you blame the legal council that represented the schools. It was the committee that signed the contracts. I do believe that previous school committees could have made better decisions, but couldn't we say that about most RI politicians? That is why I ran in 2008.

If you would look at the actual budget for the last 4 years you would see I have returned returned money to the city and the taxpayers starting with the $3.2 Million that the previous school committee was in deficit. This city and the entire state has given away the store with contracts and I am trying to fix the situation we are in by making changes. Those contracts were made over decades. The only way Warwick could through out any contract with a union is if we were bankrupt. Would you prefer that we be bankrupt?

I respect Mr. Nadeau. He represents the community well. I believe we can not accomplish anything by calling the union names, telling the RI department of education we don't want to do what they say or by publicly ranting about Ms Gist. I believe Mr. Nadeau would tell you that I also represent the community well. We do not always agree but every decision I have made was for the good of Warwick. If you would like to meet in person, I would be happy to meet you. My email once again is patrick@maloney4schools.com or maloneyp@warwickschools.org.

The second to last paragraph should have read: The only way Warwick could throw out any contract with a union is if we were bankrupt. Would you prefer that we be bankrupt?

It's good that we made savings and of course that there now is a contract. I am troubled that the 20% copay is based on THIS YEARS health cost. So the city agreed to LESS copays in the next 2 years than the 20%! If we have the usual increases in health cost, then the copay goes down to 18.5% next year and 16% the year after! (round numbers). Can anyone explain the 90 sick days thing? And what is top step pay this year in this contract?

Warwick School healthcare is through a collaborative. I believe costs have been level for the last year or 2. We use a community health collaborative and we "self-insure" our staff. By using a collaborative we get a deal because we are "connected" with a larger group and get better rates. If we have the same number and level of insurance claims this year as last, then our costs don't go up. If our costs don't go up our premiums don't go up therefore the 20% co-pay will still remain an actual 20%. If our costs go up, then our coverage will go down so the 20% will go down. We have used the same amount for the last few years so our costs have remained level. It is expected that our costs will stay the same. If we continue to negotiate with our collaborative and we continue to get a good deal an actual 20% will remain intact.

I will put more information up as I get clarification on the sick days and step information. Patrick

Mr. Maloney:

You failed to respond to the question about step raises. Once again, where in the Rhode Island General Laws does it say that teahcers have to get 10% every year. As you know it does not! In these economic times that number is disgusting. Was there even an attempt to negotiate that number down? I doubt it! It is an insult to say that teachers only got a 1% percent raise, when many receive the step raise! Why don't you put out there how many teachers are receiving the step raise in addition to the pay raise.

Dear disgusted taxpayer,

At 3:26am when I answered the last question, the last thing I wrote was "I will put more information up as I get clarification on the sick days and step information." It is now 11am and I have not been able to get any additional information yet. But I will provide it.

You are mistaken when you say, "It is an insult to say that teachers only got a 1% percent raise, when many receive the step raise!" Here is why:

About 75% of our teachers are at top step which means that 75% of the teachers would not get any increase without a raise. So approximately 75% received no raise last year, will receive a 1% raise this year and a 1.5% raise next year.

Here is how we will pay for the increases without raising taxes. The raise this year will be paid with any surplus from the previous year. We have approximately $600,000 from this year and can make a few cuts to make up the additional $200,000. Next year we negotiated for a change in the weighting at the Junior high school level. This will allow up additional reductions in staff so when teachers retire next year, we will not have to replae them to cover classes at the junior high level. We have a conservative figure now of a staff reduction after retirement alone that will give us a significant savings to pay for the 1%. By year 2, we have already began looking at which schools might close next as our number of students has dropped from approximately 30,000 in the 1970s to 12,000 presently.

I would also like to remind everyone that in the last 4 years the school budget has shrunk significantly and we have had a surplus in each of the last 4 years. Prior to my arrival on the committee there was a deficit 2 years in a row for a total deficit of $3.2 million. I have helped tighten the belt and made fiscally responsible decisions.

So, I can safely say that teachers that are not at top step would receive a step increase and a 1% raise and that number can not exceed 25% of the teachers. I will also say that every time a teacher position opens I question the step level of the teachers applying and receiving the job and have pushed for new teachers that will keep our costs down while at the same time making sure they can provide a quality education that our students deserve.

Finally, Teachers starting pay is really low. To come out of school after 4 years with possibly a $100,000 or more in debt or to have a master's degree after spending 6 years in school and make $40,000 with $150K+ debt is a reality for new teachers. That is why many choose not to teach. The ones that do decide to teach in Warwick have to work 4-5 years before they make what the custodian supervisor make who has 20 years on the job. How would you feel if you were a person who graduated from college after 6 years with experience and the custodian supervisor makes more than you and will for the next 4 to 5 years. It would be very difficult for me to be motivated for the first 4-5 years. I believe this is why many choose after the first 2-3 years to move on and stop teaching. College graduates who leave college with a master's degree leave and get jobs STARTING at 60-80K + benefits and after 5 years they make 80K-100K + benefits. It takes teachers with the same education 10 years to reach $75K + benefits.

As you can see, I am not avoiding the question about step raises. I do need to get more information on it, no one can be an expert on everything. The warwick teacher contract is on the warwick schools website. Page 42 has the step chart. Not every teacher gets a step increase because they are already top step. With the step system alone, 75% of the teachers would get no increase every year. I would prefer that over starting all new teachers with master's degrees at 60K-80K.

Patrick

Dear disgusted taxpayer and taxpayer. I found the RI Genral law that requires us to have a teacher step for the teachers. It is RI Law 16-7-29 that requires a school district to have steps. Here is the law:

RI Gen. Laws §16-7-29

Minimum salary schedule established by community.

(a) Every community shall establish and put into full effect by appropriate action of its school committee a salary schedule recognizing years of service, experience, and training, for all certified personnel regularly employed in the public schools and having no more than twelve (12) annual steps. The term "school year" as applied to the salary schedule shall mean the ten (10) calendar months beginning in September and ending the following June.

(b) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a freeze or reduction of the monetary value of the steps in the salary schedule through the collective bargaining process.

Here is the link.

http://www.ri.net/schools/West_Warwick/EPG/docs-old/-16-7-29.html

I will provide additional information about the sick days when I get it. Patrick

The RI association of school committees keeps track of this data. http://www.ri-asc.org/

GoLocalProv did an article in 2011 comparing RI schools, here:

http://www.golocalprov.com/news/the-most-expensive-teacher-contracts/

At the bottom of the article, it shows the top step salaries but not anything else. I do not know if we start lower or higher than other districts. According to the list for 2011, there are 26 cities that have a lower top step salary. 15 of these are within $1500 or so of Warwick. The only cities that are much lower are Burriville but teachers pay 0 co-pay, East Providence who went to court when they were in financial trouble and they are still waiting for a court decision that could reverse everything and possibly bankrupt them, Little Compton (I don't know anything of them), Situate, Tiverton, and Woonsocket, also $10 million deficit. This information is from 2011. It is possible the Association of School Committees has more up to date info. www.rikidscount.com is also a good reference for information.

Patrick

Above, I stated we went from 30,000 in the 70s to approximately 12,000 presently. I was corrected tonight. We had approximately 20,000 and now have about 12,000 students. Patrick

We do not currently have 12,000 students. I was going off my old notes. We are hovering, I believe at about 10,000. I was corrected on another post by someone else. It was not my intention to post the wrong number. I stand corrected.

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