Stoughton School Committee Ratifies STA Contract

The STA has also withdrawn a pending lawsuit against the committee and the town.

After months of negotiations and a recently-filed lawsuit, the Stoughton School Committee voted last week to ratify the Stoughton Teachers Association contract.

The committee voted to ratify the contract, 4-2, at a special school committee meeting on Thursday, June 26, the STA announced Monday. The contract was previously deadlocked at a 3-3 vote in late May

"Stoughton teachers have always wanted to settle a reasonable contract and focus exclusively on our students," said Andrea Pires, South Elementary School teacher and STA President in a statement. "Throughout the 15-month protracted contract negotiations, we always put our students first."

She added, "I am honored to represent dedicated colleagues who devote their professional lives to Stoughton students. The bond between teachers, students and parents is strong. We cannot overstate how meaningful the outpouring or parent support has been during these negotiations. I applaud the Stoughton teachers, Erdem Ural, Joe Soares, Katy Pina-Enokian and Carol Brown for voting to ratify this settlement and move our schools forward."

As part of last week's deal, the STA agreed to withdraw a pending lawsuit it filed in Superior Court against the town of Stoughton and the Stoughton School Committee regarding alleged unlawful withholding of step increases. 

"From the beginning, we have said that we would not proceed with the lawsuit and would forego more than $1 million in penalties and fines against the town if we could come to terms on a fair contract," said John Gunning, O'Donnell Middle School teacher and incoming STA President. "The vote on May 27 to reject the tentative agreement with the new school committee team that was negotiated with the assistance of a private mediator caused the lawsuit to be filed, but we will honor our initial offer and withdraw the pending lawsuit." 

School Committee Chair Dr. Erdem Ural also related his satisfaction over the deal on Monday. 

"I am happy that the 15-month ordeal is finally over," he said in a statement. "This contract is a great deal for Stoughton. I am looking forward to a productive relationship between the School Committee and its employees." 

Added Committee member Soares, "I want to thank the teachers for being very level-headed and very professional during the 15 months of negotiations. I know the teachers love their students and their jobs and would never compromise the children no matter what the reason. It is now time to make Stoughton schools better than they ever were."

Melanie Ingrao, a teacher at Stoughton High School and STA Negotiation Chair, referred to the contract as "modest and reasonable." 

"The terms are in line or are less than the last three settlements negotiated with former school committee teams dating back to 2004," she said in a statement. "We're pleased to move forward and return in September with the negotiations resolved.”

Stoughton Parent July 02, 2014 at 05:43 PM
nice to see you're smarter than the town manager, town auditor, school auditor, every financial person in town and all 13 fincom members. this will be a disaster for the town, taxpayers, and the schools. hate to say i told you so.
bupa3 July 02, 2014 at 06:13 PM
If you want to save money-take back the town manager's car and gas bill. Take a look at the frivolity in the budget not the salaries of hard working teachers, firefighters and police.
Marlene July 02, 2014 at 07:02 PM
Stoughton Parent---it's not that we are smarter. It's that we use actual real world numbers whereas the Superintendent, the Town Manager, and the Fincom people use incorrect and projected numbers given to them by the Superintendent. That was obvious from the beginning. Mr. Soares, Ms. Enokian, and Dr. Ural could see that and tried to explain it to those who would listen. It seems that Dr. Brown has seen the light and has come to the same conclusion as well, which is why she signed the deal. AGAIN, it's not that the Fincom and TM's calculations are incorrect. It's that they are starting off with faulty numbers and faulty assumptions. If you start with faulty numbers you come to a faulty result. It's that simple. Really not that hard to understand. This contract is not at all different,(and in some cases less) than the previous contracts dating back to 2004. You can keep saying it will "be a disaster", but the facts just don't back it up. I'm sorry that is so hard for you to understand.
Stoughton Taxpayer July 02, 2014 at 08:45 PM
Marlene -- I am trying to sort things out. What are the faulty numbers Fincom and TM used and what are the faulty assumptions? How do you know they are faulty? Are you a teacher or related to a teacher? The Fincom and TM breakdowns are posted so we can read them. The figures and assumptions do not look to be unreasonable. Are the STA's figures and assumptions posted? What makes them more reliable? If the STA is wrong, will they give back the money or reopen the contract? If they are wrong, there will be no money to improve the schools (like more aides, reading and math specialists and others to support classroom teachers), and the contract will pit the schools against the rest of the town departments. If this happens, what will STA do to make it right so we don't have to layoff younger teachers to pay for raises, or worse cutback police, fire, DPW, library to pay the raises? I saw Mr. Soares on SMAC at town meeting and fincom meetings, and both he and Mrs. Enokian on the debates and disagree with you. They sure do not understand the finances at all. I saw Ural's explanation of the contract on SMAC, too. He does not have a clue. What will these 3 do to make things right if the contract turns out to be as bad a deal as it could and the STA just stands its ground?
Marlene July 03, 2014 at 12:52 AM
Hi Stoughton Taxpayer. I will be happy to answer all of your questions. I have already posted all of the answers to your questions on previous comment boards, but I will do it again here b/c you asked so nicely! I am not a teacher or a member of any union. I'm just a citizen who has been following this story closely from day one. The examples of faulty numbers I am about to give are not disputed by either side of the isle on this issue. There are many many of them, so I will just give you the highlights. • A nurse and her salary were double counted • A teacher was counted twice – once with maiden name and once with married name • Part-time employees were counted with full-time salaries • 2 teachers who are retiring in June 2014 are listed through 2017 • 4 teachers and 1 administrator who have submitted irrevocable letters of intent to retire in June 2015 are listed through 2017...... -The numbers used by Fincom and the TM assume ZERO (0) teachers retiring or leaving the Stoughton Public Schools and ZERO(0) new hires until 2018. Each retirement is estimated to save approx. $45,000 as a new teacher will be hired at step 1. Here is a breakdown of the ACTUAL number of new hires over the past 4 years------ FY ‘ 11 (29) FY ’12 (34) FY ’13 (37)FY ’14 (57) Again, these are just the highlights that are not even under dispute by either side. You are correct when you say that the Fincom and TM numbers are accurate. They are accurate based on the faulty assumptions (plus more) that I have listed above. What happens is, that when you use faulty projected numbers, you will end up getting a faulty result. I'm not sure why they are using faulty numbers that they know to be faulty, other than the fact that this is a very political situation. Also, from what I have seen in the past, the STA is very close with the Police and Fire Departments of the Town. They always support each other in every instance when it comes to contracts. I have seen members of each union show up to support each other at various meetings. So the STA is not going to vote on something that would impact Police and Fire negatively b/c they are all on the same side. Also, I'd like to mention that this contract that was just approved added a 1% COLA for 2013(retro-active), a 1% COLA for 2014 BOY, a 1% COLA for 2015 BOY, a 1% COLA for 2016 BOY, a 1% COLA 2016 EOY, and a 1% COLA 2017 BOY. Now here is the comparison to the past two contracts starting back in FY 07 contract.....2.5% COLA for 2007,2.5% COLA 2008, 2.5% COLA 2009......Now the FY 10 contract....1% COLA 2010, 1% COLA 2011, 2% MOY COLA 2013............So as you can see, the current COLA's are in line(and in some cases much less) than the COLA's over the past 2 contracts. So it doesn't make sense that all of a sudden these COLA's(which are the same or less than the previous two contracts) would suddenly bankrupt the town or cause massive layoffs. Also, one last point. Using the exact methods of calculations being used by Fincom and the TM for this new contract, the previous contract in FY 10 should have had a three year wage expenditure of 18.8% over three years. The ACTUAL wage expenditure of those three years turned out to be only 3.7%. Again, that's because tons of money is saved every year by people leaving and retiring from the system. I hope I have answered your questions. If you have any more I'd be happy to help.


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