Litchfield School District Superintendent’s Corner

October 25, 2019

 

Michael Jette, Ph.D., Superintendent of Schools, SAU 27

by Michael Jette, Ph.D., Superintendent, SAU 27

It’s hard to believe that the end of quarter one is already fast approaching!  At least the recent nor’easter that closed schools nearby was kind to us in Litchfield and we are not yet facing an additional day of school in June.

Next Tuesday, Oct. 29, is the special school district election for the teacher’s contract.  As your superintendent, I am urging every eligible voter in Litchfield to participate in this election and to have their voice heard.  After voters rejected the agreement last March, the Litchfield School Board and the Litchfield Education Association took time to reflect on the message sent by taxpayers.  That resulted in hours of re-negotiation in order to find a pathway forward to address voter concerns.

Here is what the new agreement does:

  • Every teacher and professional staff member not yet at the top of the scale will receive a salary step with a cost of living adjustment. For those at the top of the salary scale, a cost of living adjustment is included plus an adjustment to the longevity payment in year three of the agreement.
  • Insurance will shift from an HMO to a consumer driven plan. As requested by the budget committee, the percentage paid by the district declines over the duration of this three year agreement which is projected to result in long term cost savings.
  • The new agreement costs $260,377 less than the agreement that failed in March. That represents a cost reduction of over 23 percent from the original request.
  • The new agreement has new language that allows an earlier start to the school year, a better defined teacher work day, and a committee to review co-curricular activities and stipends.

So, the question before the voters next Tuesday is:

Shall the Litchfield School District vote to approve the cost items included in the collective bargaining agreement reached between the Litchfield School District and the Litchfield Education Association, which calls for the following increases in salaries and benefits at the current staffing level:

Year       Estimated Increase

2019-2020          $256,587

2020-2021          $294,278

2021-2022          $303,872

and further to raise and appropriate the sum of $256,587 for fiscal year 2020, such sum representing the additional costs attributable to the increase in salaries and benefits required by the new agreement over those that would be paid at current staffing levels.

  • The estimated tax impact of this agreement is 28 cents per thousand. With additional revenues coming from the recently passed state budget, the actual local tax impact may be less.
  • The agreement is recommended by the Litchfield School Board on a 5-0-0 vote.
  • The agreement is recommended by the Litchfield Budget Committee 0n a 6-2-0 vote.

My hope is for high voter turnout and a strong voter voice.  I appreciate the donation of the orange message boards by a local company to ensure people know about the special election.  I also appreciate all of the factual discussion in the HLN, on social media and during the multiple public hearings related to the agreement.

Voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Campbell High School on Tuesday, Oct. 29.  Like with any election, absentee ballots are available from the town clerk for those who are unable to personally appear during polling hours.  Absentee ballots are due in person to the town clerk no later than 5 p.m. on the 28th or must be received by mail at the clerk’s office no later than 5 p.m. on the day of the election (Oct. 29).

 

Mike can be reached at mjette@litchfieldsd.org or by calling the SAU 27 office at 578-3570.  He welcomes opportunities to engage with the Litchfield Community.