And while Rome burns, the administration fiddles…and gets raises 1

Republican-American Wednesday , March 28

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FALLS VILLAGE — If the Region 1 Board of Education gives its approval, residents will be asked to vote on two questions at the upcoming budget referendum on May 8: the proposed budget and an ap­propriation for a building proj­ect that includes reroofing a portion of Housatonic Valley Regional High School, an up­grade to heating systems and meeting requirements for handicapped access.

The standing building com­mittee of Region 1 is recom­mending the work be combined into one large project, taking into consideration the histori­cally low interest rates current­ly in place, said Business Manager Samuel J. Herrick.

“Members consider the dis­trict’s debt service require­ments and other liabilities when scheduling capital projects and its impact on the budget. They believe they can achieve sav­ings through economies of scale of managing the work as one project rather than three indi­vidual projects.”

Committee Chairman Frank Perotti of Canaan said he favors adding the work required byt the Americans with Disabilities Act into the plan. “We have no choice. It has to be done to meet the requirements. We won’t be doing all of it this year, but we have to come up with a plan.”

He said the district will be getting 43.2 percent reimburse­ment, “which is a help.”

Working with Jacunski Humes Architects from Berlin, and ADA compliance consult­ant Christopher Laux, the com­mittee came up with the proposal that has a price of $3.5 million.

After taking grants into con­sideration, the cost of the roof to taxpayers will be $1.3 million; the heating system, $260,000; and the ADA piece, $738,270, leaving a bond issue amount of $2.3 million. Grants are avail­able for the roof and ADA work, but not the heating system.

Here we go again, more raises for the administration, more rewriting of the contracts after they were torn up and re-written just last year! When is enough going to be enough!? 1

From today’s Republican-American

FALLS VILLAGE — The All Boards Committee of Region 1 has recommended 2 percent or 3 percent raises and added one­year contract extensions to 2015 for central office staff.
The proposal is now forwarded to the Region 1 Board of Education, which is the body authorized to set those employ­ment conditions. The board is meeting tonight at 5 to finish the 2012-2013 budget, which will include those costs, if approved.
The same contract extension proposal was made last year and there was resistance by residents who said such a procedure ties the hands of future boards. Members of the ABC Committee, which is made up of the chairmen of the region’s seven boards of education, as well as some on the school board, said not extending the contracts would give a message to the administrators about their performances and might send a signal they should look for other jobs.

Attorney Judith Dixon was asked by the Falls Village Board of Selectmen to comment on the procedure last year. She wrote a letter expressing her concern about the contract ex­tensions, calling the move a poor business practice that places both the superintendent and assistant superintendent in a much superior bargaining position to the school board. Dixon also is town attorney for Sharon and Canaan.

At a recent meeting, ABC Committee members voted to offer Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain a 2 percent increase, a one-year contract extension to 2015, five more vacation days, amounting to 25 days total, and three more personal days, for a total of five. The proposal also continues to pay the annuity included in her salary. Her salary will be $160,407. Assistant Superintendent Diane Goncalves will earn an additional 2 percent, bringing her salary to $135,502, a one-year contract extension to 2015 and a $2,500 annuity.

Business Manager Samuel J. Herrick will get a 2 percent raise, plus a 1 percent salary adjustment, bringing his total to $110,183. His contract will be extended to 2015.

The proposal for Director of Pupil Services Carl Gross is a 2 percent salary increase and a 1 percent salary adjustment. He will earn $124,027 next year and also receive a one-year contract extension to 2015.

Martha Schwaikert, supervisor of special education, is slated is get a 2 percent raise and a contract extension to 2015. The committee also voted to add 10 days to her work year, going from 200 to 210. She will earn an additional $4,785 for the extra days, making her complete package $102,495.