April 07, 2020

SAD 53 support staff make move to unionize

PITTSFIELD – At its regular meeting Monday, the SAD 53 board of directors will hear an update from Superintendent Terrence McCannell regarding unionization of the district’s 65 support staff members.

At the board’s last meeting, several representatives of the staff approached the directors about becoming part of the existing teachers’ association union. McCannell told the directors that the staff had a right to either form their own association or work with an existing group.

The support staff, according to McCannell, consists of secretaries, bookkeepers, educational technicians and others. They have made the request for representation because many of them are part-time employees and therefore are not offered health benefits.

McCannell told the directors that state law requires that 50 percent plus one of the staff members must desire representation before it can be done.

A poll of all members was to be conducted and McCannell will report on legal and financial ramifications to the district at Monday’s meeting.

Other items on the meeting’s agenda include several policy amendments regarding food and beverage offerings and student dismissal procedures, and an update on the fall renovation schedule.

In reports to the directors, Warsaw Middle School principal Arnold Shorey announced that recent parent-teacher conferences were the best attended in recent years. He also announced that Warsaw staff would receive a special writing training next April form the Jon Collins Institute. “This process will provide our students with consistent instruction for grades five through eight on how to effectively use the writing process,” Shorey said.

Mike Gallagher, principal of Burnham Village, Vickery and Manson Park schools, reported that parent-teacher conferences at those schools were “an outstanding success.” This was partly because Gallagher has opted to include pupils in the conference process. A survey conducted by the school resulted in 119 parents stating they had a better understanding of their child as a learner after the conference. Only two parents said they did not.

Gallagher also reported that a recent fund-raiser by the Parent Teacher Organization netted $9,500 for projects at the elementary and middle school levels.

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