Why should you care about what’s in the new Scarborough teachers contract?

This new teacher contract will have a huge impact on your pocketbook. Salaries and benefits make up about 80% of the school budget and about 70% of our town spending.

This pandemic has caused record unemployment and changed how we do just about everything. No one knows what the new normal will look like. Almost everyone has been hit hard in the pocketbook with job losses, pay cuts and lost retirement savings.

There is one group which has been practically unscathed in terms of financial losses: school department employees. No school employee has had a pay cut or has been furloughed. And now, with the new contract, the teachers will be receiving pay increases. How much? No one is saying. We may not know until after the votes are counted in the school budget vote on July 14.

Why the delay in releasing the BOE approved and teacher ratified contract? It is easy to speculate. What we do know comes from a report issued earlier this year. We believe teachers will receive a retroactive pay increase of about 5% as a lump sum now and an additional 5% in each of the next two years; about 15% over three years.

This is just not the time for big pay increases. The school budget is under review by the Town Council. They will probably approve a tax increase of 1-2%. We the taxpayers deserve to have a zero percent increase. This can be achieved easily if the teachers and school employees agreed to a small pay cut like so many other town and private sector employees. The schools employed over 800 full- and part-time employees in 2019.  A small cut to individual job classifications would go a long way and to avoid cuts to school programs and layoffs of teachers.

Scarborough teachers and staff — do the right thing and pitch in!

Susan Hamill