2014-05-09 / In the News

Superintendent, board agree on contract extension

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

On a night that was partially devoted to recognizing the winter sport athletes, the Board of Education paused briefly Thursday, May 1 for an acknowledgement of its own.

The Board of Education unanimously opted to renew the contract of Superintendent George Entwistle through June 30, 2016. Entwistle came to the school district in 2011 after serving as the superintendent of schools in Belmont, Massachusetts, for two years. Shortly after he started, Entwistle organized a community forum in October 2011 to develop an 18-month improvement plan for the district. A second 18-month improvement plan was launched in April 2013.

With the new contract, Entwistle will receive a 1.5 percent wage increase, similar to the increases the Board of Education’s negotiations committee approved for other school employees.

Entwistle earns $136,100, but can make an additional $3,000 in performance incentives if Board of Education goals are met. Those goals were not made public. Entwistle’s contract has been renewed annually since he was hired.

Board of Education Chairman Christine Massengill said negotiations between the board’s negotiation committee and Entwistle began early last year, but “dragged out longer than we expected.”

Board member Chris Caiazzo said the reason for the delay had nothing to do with the nature of the negotiations with Entwistle.

“There was no difficulty in negotiations,” Caiazzo said. “It was a desire to get some of the other contracts in place before moving on with this one.”

Work to update the contracts for all the school district’s employees continues. Jackie Perry, who oversees the Board of Education’s negotiations committee, said the committee was scheduled to meet with the bus drivers this week to review their contract and will meet with the support staff soon. Support staff includes secretaries, clerks/ receptionists, education technicians, medical assistants and bus aides.

Both the contracts for bus drivers and support staff are scheduled to expire at the end of June. Building administrators, who include building principals, assistant principals and the director of athletics and student activities, are working under their contract, which was recently renewed, until June 30, 2015. The district’s teachers, guidance counselors, nurses and therapists are under contract until Sept. 1, 2016.

The district’s custodians and food service workers have been working without a contract since June 2012.

The negotiations committee has met with the group on and off since then, but the two parties have failed to reach an agreement. At issue is the school district’s interest in outsourcing the custodial work in an effort to save upwards of $350,000 a year. The outsourcing was proposed by a return on investment team that was established in spring 2012 to find efficiencies and cost saving in school operations.

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