FRANKLIN SCHOOL COMMITTEE

Jeffrey N. Roy, Chair Paula Mullen, Vice-Chair Ed Cafasso ▪ Cindy Douglas ▪ Bill Glynn ▪ Susan Rohrbach ▪ Roberta Trahan

October 5, 2011

Scott Mason, Chair Franklin Town Council 355 E. Central Street Franklin, MA 02038 Dear Scott, Thank you for your request for more information regarding the School Committee’s unanimous approval of a new contract with the Franklin Educational Association (FEA). The School Committee works hard to uphold its legal and fiduciary responsibilities under the Town Charter and state law, and to make decisions that consistently reflect the mission, vision and values of the school district. In that spirit, we are writing to provide further information about the FEA agreement. The new contract period begins Sept. 1, 2010 and runs until Aug. 30, 2012. It provides no wage increase for Fiscal Year 2011; a 1% increase for FY 2012; and a 0.5% increase, effective Aug. 30, 2012, for FY 2013. The approximate cost in FY12 is estimated as $350,000. This represents 0.68% of the current school budget. The approximate cost for FY13 is $175,000. The wage increases scheduled for FY12 and FY13 are exceptionally modest, compared to the 2.5% wage increase the Town Council approved for teachers at TriCounty Regional Vocational Technical High School earlier this year, and the 3.4% increase in the Consumer Price Index in this region from July 2010 through July 2011. The new FEA contract is historic for two reasons:

Street Address 355 East Central St. Franklin, MA 02038

PHONE (508) 553-4819 E-MAIL jroy@ravechroy.com WEB SITE http://www.franklin.ma.us/auto/schools/fsc/default.htm

FRANKLIN SCHOOL COMMITTEE
Scott Mason October 5, 2011 Page 2

It features an agreement between the School Committee and the FEA to cooperatively re-examine the salary table that drives close to 75% of current school costs. For the first time ever, both parties have agreed to investigate a new, progressive wage structure to replace the “steps and lanes” that both the Town Council and the School Committee have long identified as a budget buster. The agreement to cooperatively re-examine the current salary table holds a significant opportunity for us to address a significant source of annual financial pressure on Franklin’s budget. Secondly, the new contract requires both sides to undertake interest-based bargaining (IBB) during upcoming talks toward a new FEA contract, as opposed to the adversarial and frustrating negotiating posture that has been in place until now. Interest-based bargaining (IBB) has been a goal of the School Committee for many years, and we are pleased to finally have the opportunity to implement it. “Bargaining Methods and New Forms of Agreements,” as published by the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, explains this approach succinctly: “Interest-based bargaining (IBB) is a departure from positional bargaining and the traditional adversarial, industrial model of collective bargaining that assumes bargaining is a zero-sum activity focused on dividing existing resources. In contrast, IBB focuses on parties’ interests rather than their proposed positions, making it possible to explore the values and purposes and to learn whether these interests are shared or complementary. IBB allows parties to identify multiple ways to satisfy interests and to solve problems creatively… IBB provides an opportunity to address student achievement in the collective-barging process. IBB can minimize ritualized adversarial behavior and enable productive relationships to develop, better situating the parties to improve student achievement.” For more information on IBB, we commend this article to Council members for further review: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/fs/lkaboolian/publications/Win-Winchapter1.pdf. The IBB method empowers the parties to work as partners to brainstorm, identify and implement potential solutions to systemic issues in good faith. This could not be more important, given the need to balance ongoing budgetary pressures, high expectations for continued high academic performance, and evolving state and federal standards for achievement imposed on our schools and teachers.

FRANKLIN SCHOOL COMMITTEE
Scott Mason October 5, 2011 Page 3

The terms of the FEA contract allow us to pursue a progressive approach toward broader goals, including the potential for a new salary schedule that is financially sustainable. The contract is funded by savings attained through attrition, as well as increased circuit breaker revenue from the state. A final important aspect of the contract is that it brought closure to our unfair labor practice litigation, saved mounting legal fees, and allowed the school department to return its sole focus to the task of educating the students of Franklin. We appreciate, respect and share the Town Council’s desire to maintain a balanced budget and to use revenues as efficiently and effectively as possible to provide the best possible services to the citizens of Franklin. To that end, we consistently provide very detailed information on our budget and operations at our meetings, in budget documents, in annual budget hearings with the Finance Committee and Town Council, and in various online settings. Although it did not meet consistently during the FY12 budget process, the Joint Budget Subcommittee of the Council and the Committee has been a very effective and collegial financial planning vehicle in the past. We propose that the Joint Budget Subcommittee resume a regular, disciplined meeting schedule as soon as possible immediately following the upcoming municipal election. As always, we stand ready to provide further information. We look forward to continuing to serve with you as responsible advocates for our schools and constructive partners in the governance of Franklin.

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