DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Derry

June 6, 2013

Derry voters face contract vote

DERRY — Voters will have another chance to consider a new contract for the school district’s paraprofessional union.

Residents heard details on an updated version of the contract at a deliberative session May 28.

The new three-year agreement between the school district and its teacher assistant and paraprofessional union will come before voters at the polls on June 25.

In March, voters approved the school’s $81 million budget, but shot down a warrant article for a new collective bargaining agreement between the district and the AFSCME teachers assistants union.

After new negotiations, officials are back with a new proposal, still offering assistants raises, but less than before.

The new three-year agreement, if approved by voters, would give members a 10-cent raise the first year, 15 cents the second year and 15 cents in the third, costing about $27,000 less than the original agreement.

The positions covered in this union include educational assistants, special education assistants, kindergarten aides, library, computer and reading assistants.

Officials say this is a fair contract.

“This is a fair and reasonable contract,” School Board member Neal Ochs said. “I would like to see it pass.”

Some residents said times are still too tough to be giving raises to school employees.

Resident Maureen Rose questioned why the new contract was even coming back before voters. School district moderator Roger Konstant said voters had agreed at the polls in March to reconsider another contract if the first failed to pass. The district was then obligated to renegotiate.

“I can’t remember the last time I got a raise,” Rose told school officials. “The voters said no, why is it back again?”

Resident Tom Cardon is a teacher and also a town councilor. He said the town did a good job leveling its budget with no tax increases and urged the school district to try to take the town’s lead.

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