Westford Teachers Ratify Contract

The decision ends a more than year-long standoff between Westford's teachers and the School Committee.

Westford's teachers' union, the Westford Education Association, is reporting this hour that they have ratified a new contract by what they are saying was a substantial majority.

Now the contract goes to the School Committee for their ratification, with the two sides coming to the tentative agreement last week shortly after

“Recognizing that these are difficult financial times for many local residents, our members agreed to accept an extremely frugal contract,” said Ruth Freeman, outgoing president of the Westford Education Association. “We hope that these sacrifices are acknowledged and remembered when the economy improves and we are back at the table.”

Under the new agreement, teachers will drop their prohibited practice charge against the district for failing to give teachers previously negotiated step increases and will receive no step increase in the first year of the contract.

According to a release from the WEA, there will also be no raises for the first two years of the contract, but a one percent raise in the third year of the contract will be given.

Teachers will also see a step increase reinstated in the second year of the contract, and a step increase at the beginning and the end of the third year.

The agreement also includes changes in sick leave, family medical leave, length of the school year, staff meeting schedule, longevity pay, and will provide increases in reimbursements and conference stipends.

“The taxpayers in Westford are saving a lot of money under this agreement, especially when added on top of the reductions in health insurance benefits we previously negotiated,” said Mary McCusker, an active member of the WEA bargaining team.  “We have tightened our belts in the hopes and expectation that the town will support our schools in ways that are good for students and fair to teachers in the future.”

June Mary June 19, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Third Time. Tell a Lie Long Enough and Loud Enough, it becomes the truth. You obviously are well schooled in the LL & LE method of propaganda. The super is paid above average because he delivers superior results. BTW I have been told by several townies that the Super is a business major not an education (under water basket weaving) major is the reason he has cojones and can walk all over the wimps on staff. I and my covey of friends have no problem with Mr. Olsen retiring with a pension 5x higher than a teacher's highest pension (~$64,000/year in 2012). He has more than earned it by cracking the whip on the inept and the incompetent to get then to performance at a minimally acceptable level.
June Mary June 19, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Is the town dry? Only for the wasting of taxpayers by giving the inept and incompetent step increases. Answer to the 3 days. Teachers were working under the old contract that expired on 31 August which means that they had not accrued the complete year required to get a step. When teachers reported to work on or after 1 Sept. 2011 there was no existing contract. BTW I have been told Mr. Bob Jeffries, Mr. Kelly Ross and ms Valerie Wromell from the BoS and Ms Jodi Ross played a major role in injecting a good dose of backbone into the Westford School Committee.
June Mary June 19, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Just kiss the ground and give thanks that you have a job. Bondage/slavery is prohibited in MAss and The US so you are free to go.
June Mary June 19, 2012 at 02:09 AM
You are free to start an organization to raise funds to pay the inflated salaries of your favorite teachers. You are also free to raise any amount and donated to the town for use in supplementing the salaries of WPS teachers. I believe that the cost for steps was estimated at $540,000/year add $460,000/year to give the teachers at top step a ift of appreciation for a grand total of $1,000,000. You can raise this amount by 1000 families contributing $1000/year, each or 100 families contributing $10,000/year each. Note that at the highest federal income tax incremental tax rate, the feds eat 35% of your contribution so the numbers above are $650 and $6,500/year. BTW Westford teacher salaries range from $~42,000 at B1 to $78,000+ for Masters+30 for 185 days of less than 6 hours.
Dan D. June 19, 2012 at 02:30 AM
I'm all for people getting paid "far above average" for far above average performance. I don't want "Average" in anyone leading the school dept or any other town department. You can argue about his performance, bring it to the school committee, they are the ones who determine it, along with his goals. Personally, I'd like to see one of his goals to reduce staff to the recommended levels established by the SC., AND reduce real costs by at least 5% to be considered superior, but I'm not on the committee, don't intend to be, and don't show up to the meetings so I don't bitch a lot about it.
Billy B June 19, 2012 at 07:06 AM
I live in Acton and we are laughing at pretentious Westford this year, what a joke of aDCL school that teachers now resent the town they work in all in 1 year. Westford should leave the DCL and go back to playing its peers like Ayer
Alex Finnegan June 19, 2012 at 07:34 AM
This is a direct quote from you "Now, Westford will have big problems, the negotiated FY12 pay increases cannot be paid and FY13 increases can be funded only with massive (15 to 20% )reduction in staff." So are we dry or not? And you include over hiring to be part of you superior super's performance? Teachers get new steps starting the first day of every school year. They started the new year August 29 which means they worked 3 days under the old contract and should have been paid at the new step. That is how it works. Do you include breaking legally binding contracts as part of his superior performance too? Olsen has a Masters in Business Administraton, Teachers have a Masters in Education. Same level of education. Do you see why teachers are not going to continue to get the education that underpays. It sounds like you base the super's performance on being able to underpay the teachers w/out considering the long term effects of it, or how he did it. Would you be happy giving him the 15% raise only ro realize that he cost the town $80k in fines?
Billy B June 19, 2012 at 10:58 AM
As far as most teachers are concerned these days the only tradition we now have is a stab in the back as our contract is violated by the Super who claims to be very supportive of teachers (choke choke) the animosity created by saving a few bucks on the teachers backs is the kind of thing that often comes back to haunt ten fold in places like increased use of sick time...I don't mean teachers staying out when they are not sick, I mean teachers who came to work sick and now won't consider that, working in classrooms with sick kids most teachers can legit be sick a dozen days a year. That's just one example, this will end up hurting for years in ways the SC is too aloof to comprehend now
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) June 19, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Tony, Olsen already said he wouldn't accept any bonus this year (http://westford.patch.com/articles/olsen-praised-during-yearly-evaluation)
Billy B June 19, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Olsen said he won't accept his bonus (max $3,000 I think) BUT he didn't say he wouldn't accept a penny more compensation in his next contract, there are lots of ways to add compensation outside bonus and base salary
June Mary June 19, 2012 at 04:42 PM
An average MBA makes about 60% more than a teacher. The problem with teachers is that they actually believe that their Masters in Education degrees are a significant achievement or qualifies them for jobs requiring skills above those found in Mickey D. employees.
Alex Finnegan June 19, 2012 at 06:10 PM
"An average MBA makes about 60% more than a teacher." First off, you didn't answer any of my above questions. Olsen makes much more than 60% of a Westford teacher at top pay. What does it matter what the average MBA makes, we are talking about Olsen. The master's degree was mandated by the state. It doesn't matter that the teachers think of it. It automatically increases pay. What if we start requiring PHD's from teachers but don't change their pay? What do you think will happen? Will teachers continue to put out all that time and $ and investment in education for a job that isn't going to pay? (Answer please) I'm sure you've heard of the law of supply and demand. A masters degree is a masters degree. A master's in Business Administration, Engineering, Early Childhood education, it's all the same level of schooling. The fact that you compare it to a job at Mcdonalds shows how extremely little you know about childhood learning and brain development. " they actually believe that their Masters in Education degrees qualifies them for jobs requiring skills above those found in Mickey D. " It does. A master's degree is required to teach in MA, it is not however required to work at Mickey D's. Think before you speak. You think it's honestly that simple why don't you cruise through and get your masters, and MBA perhaps and get a super's job?
June Mary June 19, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Have you compared SATs and MCAS scores lately. Acton looks good because of the kids from Boxboro.
June Mary June 19, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Olsen is a superior leader and administrator, unfortunately he is compensated at a rather low salary with respect to his talents. BTW All the malcontents that are vociferously attacking Supt. Olsen and posting fake postings under the name Everett should realize that posting fake posts under another persons name can be prosecuted criminally besides showing a lack of decorum/ BTW The malcontents and their scribes should read the following article in the nY Times, that far right wing media, Lost in Recession, Toll on Underemployed and Underpaid that was published on 18 June 2012. The very accurate but very depressing article is at the following URL If you are delusional, please do not read the article or the 600+ comments. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/19/us/many-american-workers-are-underemployed-and-underpaid.html?_r=1&src=se#commentsContainer In closing since some of the scribes are mentally impaired and certainly delusional when they compare a MBA and MS in Engineering to the paper degree of Masters in Education. Engineers and Business majors score 60 IQ points and 600 points on the SATs higher than the mentally challenged education majors. Ergo. Malcontents should consider working at Mickey Ds which does not give personal or sick days to part time employees. McD management believes in the USSR constitution phrase " He who shall not work, shall not eat."
Martin Luther June 19, 2012 at 08:03 PM
A very entertaining post from a delusional scribe. My academic achievements are well above that of any member of the NEA, MTA or WEA and similarly situated individuals that reside in Acton. I personally would feel insulted to have to listen to a delusional blithering education loudmouth teacher. Read "A Nation at Risk" to become informed. BTW The US was No. 1 in education achievement in 1964 since then it has slid to 24th in the OECD countries. Check the OECD site for some very startling numbers on achievement and cost/capita.
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) June 20, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Jesse, I'm going to assume you were saying that the author in Thomas' link was "delusional" and not Thomas or Alex. I've already deleted one comment in the past week tamer than that, no personal attacks on other users are allowed. If you disagree with another user, speak to their facts, not to them. I'll be keeping a closer eye on this thread, everyone, please be civil to one another.
Everett June 20, 2012 at 12:42 AM
So there is only one Everett? A first and last name would border on criminal impersonation, a first name only? That's a biiiiiiiiiig stretch unless we mean Elvis Madonna Tupac and I don't think Everett is there just yet
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) June 20, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Everett, Given the sensitive nature of this topic and the fact I have not seen you on here before, I figured it was better safe than sorry. I've seen several people with user names similar to notable figures in stories that don't comment on stories outside of those with figures that they seem to impersonate.
Alex Finnegan June 20, 2012 at 03:12 AM
You claim that 30% of the Westford teaching staff is inept. Who do you think hired or is keeping them? There is a plan in place by which teachers are assessed yearly and can be placed on a timeline to bring themselves up to the standard or they can be gotten rid of. So if there is 30% incompetence, it's the result of you over achieving super. MA is #1 in the united states, so the countries' slide is not because of us, and certainly not because of Westford. So your point is moot. I have read "A nation at risk", and am very familiar with the oecd site if you want to get into that. Being as educated as you say you are, I'm sure you know that comparing countries involves a lot of adjusting. What is your degree in if you don't mind me asking?
Alex Finnegan June 20, 2012 at 05:08 AM
#1 Teacher Tenure does not matter if they do not meet the standard #2 MA is #1 in the US. You challenged that argument straight away w/out anything to prove otherwise. We also have some of the best charter schools. No matter what study you find, MA is top 3. http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-500172_162-10008953-52.html http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/neighborhoods/school-district/ratings/top100/ Enough with the eccentricities stick to the subject matter.
Martin Luther June 20, 2012 at 08:09 PM
How many tenured MA teachers have been fired for incompetency in the last 10 years? How many tenured MA teachers have been fired for drug dealing in the last 10 years? How many tenured MA teachers have been fired for statutory rape in the last 10 years? The CBS report quiet clearly states that the article is on performance on the 4th grade tests. The PISA tests measure performance at the 10th grade. The neighborhoodscout web site used the same old metrics to prove that the US is !, yet OECD tests place the US in 25th place on international tests. Were #1, were #1, were #1, say it long enough and loud enough and the parents will really believe it, open up their pocketbooks and lavish outrageous salaries on a poorly trained, inept and incompetent group of malcontents. Pretty good scheme much like the 2006 and 2008 state and national elections.
June Mary June 20, 2012 at 08:15 PM
You claim to have read at "Nation at Risk" but Did you understand it? Dd you work to implement the corrective steps that were suggested in at Nation at Risk? Talk is cheap and blogging is a cheap trill, but you need to walk the talk if you are really serious about improving the schools in the US.
June Mary June 20, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Why do we have charter schools, if our public schools are #1? Does the #1 ranking of our public schools retain its standing when compared to the various private and religious schools in MA?
Franklin June 20, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Just like Stephen Stills sung in the 1960s "Battle lines are being drawn..."
June Mary June 21, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Where is Nash? I believe that this tempest in a Tea Pot will soon vanish from the face of the earth. Why? There is fiscal Armageddon scheduled for Jan. 2013 if the Mayan prophesy of 21 Dec 2012 end of civilizations fails to occur. Personally, I do not understand why people are running for public office. If the Mayans do not get to you, surely the fiscal troubles of 2013 will destroy Western civilization.
Alex Finnegan June 21, 2012 at 03:04 AM
It sounds like you have not read "A nation at risk" It was also Jesse James that told me to read it, but you have read it too? It's a fairly obscure book. I understood it perfectly, It sounds like you didn't. I fundamentally disagree with most of the book, as should you. You always tout finland the Korea, who have shorter school days. S. Korea pays teachers very highly as the book recommends (competitive). ALl ideas you are against. Once again, you didn't answer any of my questions. "How many tenured MA teachers have been fired for incompetency in the last 10 years? Doesn't matter this is Westford so probably very few, it's one of the best school systems in the state. How many tenured MA teachers have been fired for drug dealing in the last 10 years? You can't terminate someone who resigns. Don't' know if she was tenured or not but what about Jessical Palkes, Rosemarie Pumo? How many tenured MA teachers have been fired for statutory rape in the last 10 years?" Again you can't fire someone who resigns, But there was one, I can't remember her name. The kicker in all this is is all the result of your precious SI and school committee, teachers have nothing to do with those regulations. MA does not matter, this is westford. It's part of the Westford contract, I have no idea if it's part of anyone else's contract. So if all those teachers were terminated or resigned will you admit you were wrong?
Alex Finnegan June 21, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Why do we have charter schools, if our public schools are #1? Because some people like to have choices. Does the #1 ranking of our public schools retain its standing when compared to the various private and religious schools in MA? It doesn't matter, compare the states however you want. Massachusetts stacks up very well. Westford stacks up very well. Saying the U.S. is 25th in the world means nothing when there are 49 other states dragging MA down. How does MA stack up to the rest of the U.S. I've given you numerous examples none of which have been been up to your standards. Why don 't you provide them. Just MA, public private, whatever you want. You might find the studies you desire are not that easy to find. You aren't happy with any of my stats, evidence, studies. lets see your relevant ones showing how terrible MA schools are. Being 25th in the world means nothing when you have 49 plus the territories averaging MA down.
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) June 21, 2012 at 03:48 AM
I'm beginning to think you three need to start a book club at the J.V. Fletcher Library for "A Nation at Risk." I'd be interested in covering it.
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) June 21, 2012 at 03:51 AM
Okay, deleted one comment that insulted another user somewhat surreptitiously and deleted another that insulted another user more bluntly. C'mon people, knock it off. It's too hot for this.
Alex Finnegan June 21, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Thats the truth


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