Wachusett school contracts settled; Teachers to get 9.5 percent raise.

Byline: Jean Laquidara Hill HOLDEN - The Wachusett Regional School District has settled three contracts with school employees, according to Margaret J. K. Watson, chairman of the Wachusett Regional School Committee. Ms. Watson said yesterday Superintendent Thomas G. Pandiscio and the teachers, clerks and custodians had completed negotiations, and that all the contracts were signed before Thanksgiving. Teachers will receive a raise of 9.5 percent over a three-year period, retroactive to Sept. 1, and effective through Aug. 31, 2009, Ms. Watson said yesterday. The increase for the first year of the contract is about 3 percent, said Ms. Watson. The increase means that a first-year teacher at step one with a master's degree will receive $39,549, said Ms. Watson. She said the salary schedule provides for increases as teachers become more experienced, and receive advanced degrees. At the highest step with a doctorate degree, teachers can earn $75,194. "But one would have to work here for quite a long time," said Ms. Watson, explaining the highest step based on years served is 14. Next year, in the second year of the contract, the starting salary for a teacher with a master's degree will be $40,933 and the highest possible salary for a teacher at the 14th step with a doctorate will be $77,826, Ms. Watson said. In the last year of the three-year contract, she said, the starting salary would be $42,468 and the highest will be $80,744. "There has been a change in working conditions," Ms. Watson said. Teachers in kindergarten through Grade 8 have agreed to monitor students getting on and off school buses, if asked, said Ms. Watson. In the new contract, Wachusett Regional High School teachers also agree to do additional duties of monitoring the school corridors, which were not included in their duties in the previous contract, Ms. Watson said. She said monitors were hired in the past to watch students in the hallways. And, Ms. Watson said, teachers will accept extra assignments of advising student clubs, with stipends provided for the most time consuming of the activities. "There's one other interesting change in this one," Ms. Watson said about the new contact. The new contract includes a provision that provides a teacher with $1,000 for giving notice of retirement by Nov. 1, when the teacher plans to retire at the end of that academic year. Ms. Watson said teachers who have been in the system for many years and are at the top of the pay scale, are replaced by...

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