LONDONDERRY — Two articles on the ballot March 8 are asking voters to support collective bargaining agreements, one for school support staff and one for the custodial staff.

The support staff includes monitors, clerical assistants, office assistants, instructional assistants, special education assistants, library/media and computer assistants, bookkeepers and administrative assistants.

"Right now, the support staff union is in an 'evergreen' situation," said School Board member Steve Young, who was the board's liaison during negotiations. "If we do not pass the contract, they automatically get a raise anyway."

Young said the increase in pay was changed from step increases to cost-of-living increases.

"The contract was set this year for 1.6 percent," Young said.

Another change to the contract is that in-house candidates do not necessarily have the right to an interview for every position applied for within the district.

"The district was required to interview people in the past," Young said. "Now, they don't always have the right to an interview, but will be professionally reviewed."

When an employee wants to take a personal day on a Monday or Friday, he or she will be required to give a reason under the new contract. Also, if someone has worked in the district for half of the school year — or 90 days — he or she will be required to pay the union fee.

Another change is that special education aides at the high school level will no longer receive the 50 cents an hour in extra pay they were receiving in the past.

"They got the extra money because they had to deal with the personal care needs of some very big, disabled teens," Young said. "But now, everyone needs a job, of course. We wanted to distribute this extra money across the union employees, but the union decided to give it to just the elementary and middle school aides. This leaves out the high school and Moose Hill."

The dollar amount of the article for the union contract is $15,595 for fiscal year 2012 with an estimated tax impact of $0.01.

John Robinson was the School Board's liaison for the custodial bargaining agreement.

"The custodians were exceptionally cooperative and flexible in this negotiation," he said. "(Board chairman) Ron Campo did a great job from the district side."

Robinson said the union clearly recognized the current economic conditions and were "willing to work with us on a new deal that achieves solid outcomes for both sides."

Highlights of the agreement included an effective continuation of terms in place from the prior contract; no salary increases, just cost-of-living adjustment based on Boston cost of living figures and no "evergreen" involvement since the contract contains no steps, but cost of living allowances.

The dollar amount of the article is $54,767 for fiscal year 2012, with an estimated tax impact of $0.02.

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