Letter to the editor Lakeville Journal from Patricia Allyn Mechare Reply

Brain Kavanuagh’s letter of April 12th was right on. When you vote May 8th on the Region 1 proposed spending plan consider the following:

1. Over the last three fiscal years Central Office administrators have had salary increases of 6-7%
2. With the exception of the director of special education who has had 20 days added to her work year every other Central Office administrator has been given more days off with the superintendent and assistant superintendent leading the pack
3. The assistant superintendent has been given the additional benefit of a $2500 annuity
4. The superintendent’s annuity is tied to her salary (6%) giving her an additional increase
5. The unusual wording in the superintendent’s contract allows her to take any graduate level courses at a 100% reimbursement with no limit on the number of courses she can take annually, no limit on the cost per credit and no reporting system regarding the successful completion of the course. Over the last 3 fiscal years the cost to the taxpayer for course reimbursement has been $26,600. The spending plan does not specifically account for this expenditure

The Board’s majority has refused to revisit these contracts to level the playing field. They fail to realize that annual renewal of these contracts so that there is always a term of 3 years costs the Board plenty. Should a future Board decide that they no longer want the services of an administrator their hands will be tied. That means employing someone who no longer fits the bill until the contract finally ends or using taxpayers’ money for a buyout. Neither alternative is acceptable. That the Board’s attorney allowed so many of these contract conditions to stand, despite the obvious detriments and the lack of the best interest of the Region and/or the taxpayer, is astounding. There doesn’t appear to have been any negotiation at all, but an immediate acquiescence to administrators’ demands without any thought or consideration of the financial impact to students and taxpayers. These folks are the highest paid public officials in the area. Our local communities have been holding the line on all kinds of expenses including salary and benefits for a number of years. That this small group is treated as if it has some entitlement is an insult to all those other public employees who have been asked to sacrifice, to say nothing of those in the private and non-profit sectors. Here is a breakdown of the four top administrators’ financial packages NOT including vacation, personal, sick and other time off: superintendent: $168,798 (plus $12,000 budgeted for tuition reimbursement); assistant superintendent: $151,746; director of pupil services: $143,070; business manager $136,107. All are working fewer days than in 2009-2010 for more pay and benefits.

These items and others of a crucial and important nature both at HVRHS and Central Office need to be addressed. So far the majority has refused to do so on the advice of the superintendent and board chairman. Keep that in mind when you vote.

Patricia Allyn Mechare

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