Letter: Support for Dresden Budget

To the Editor:

On Jan. 14, the Dresden Finance Committee voted on the proposed Dresden School Budget and the teachers contract.

The committee voted 7-1 to support the 2013-14 school budget. The majority noted that the budget is essentially flat compared with the current year’s spending. The minority hoped for reduced spending given the decline in student enrollment.

The committee voted 6-2 to support the proposed Dresden teachers’ contract. The majority noted that, given the lack of a new contract over the past two years, teachers’ base salaries have been flat for two years, which has narrowed the gap between Dresden salaries and those of comparable districts. The base salary increase for the coming year in the proposed contract is 2 percent, which the majority thinks is reasonable, and the contract includes other changes in non-salary compensation that are expected to reduce costs over the life of the contract. Overall, the majority thinks the contract reflects progress toward cost containment.

The minority noted that although the proposed contract calls for only a 2 percent increase in base salary across the steps and tracks, some teachers (i.e., those who will advance in step or track) may receive larger raises, which the minority felt were unnecessary to attract, retain and reward high-quality teachers. The minority also felt that the non-salary benefits in the proposed contract are still too generous.

The full position statement of the Dresden Finance Committee is available at www.sau70.org.

James Dwinell, Chair

Kristi Fenner, Vice Chair

Dresden Finance Committee