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Framingham Teachers Want Swift, 'Fair and Equitable' Contract

The Framingham Teachers Association has a one year contract set to expire Aug. 31 and they want a new three-year contract and a "salary increase."

The Framingham Teachers Association has a one year contract set to expire Aug. 31 and they want a new three-year contract.

The Association is frustrated at the lack of progress by the Framingham School Committee. The Association said in order for the Framingham Public School District to do well, it is essential for the system to hire and retain good teachers.

Hundreds of teachers attended Tuesday night's School Committee meeting. This was the first public indication by the Association that negotiations are not going well.

Teachers are frustrated with the decrease in funds and steady decline in salary that has been taking place over the past few years, said Sam Miskin, president of the Association at Tuesday night's meting.

"If you do not retain and recruit talented teachers, what happens to Framingham?" said Association negotiating team member Lisa Zanella, who teaches at

Zanella called for greater respects for the professionals by settling a fair and equitable contract.

Miskin, a math teacher at , asserted the importance of hiring and retaining excellent educators.

"As educators, we all want Framingham to be the best district," said Miskin. "We are just looking for some recognition."

Generally, teachers in the Association have contracts for three years, but this current one is only a one-year contract. The Association is pushing for a three-year contract and an increase in salary.

Miskin said the Association is concerned the Committee would not consider a COLA or cost of living allowance for the Association members.

Currently, teachers are making less than they were two years ago, according to the Association.

Miskin said statistics show the average teacher graduates college with $27,000 of debt. Plus, teachers today are required to have a Master's degree, pushing the debt to almost $40,000.

Based on the salary schedule on the Framingham Public Schools website, for the past school year the starting salary for a teacher with a Bachelor's Degree is $44,399 and $47,662 for a teacher with a Master's.

Citing the and new teacher evaluations, Miskin said, "The challenges educators face now are very different that they were before."

Alan Kawadler June 06, 2012 at 06:44 PM
If the union can figure out a way for Framingham to provide salary increases without having to cut other town services and avoid tax increases I'm all for it.
Kim Poness June 06, 2012 at 06:51 PM
@Derek - very, very good point. "if the private sector people don't have the extra money - there is no extra money to give to the public sector."
Greg Palmer June 06, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Kim, just for clarification purposes. In Massachusetts, new teachers pay 11% or 12% of their salary into the state run pension. It's a hard number and non-negotiable. When you become an educator and a public school teacher in MA, the date you enter the profession determines how much you contribute. In the 90's, new educators were paying 8% into the pension and it grew rapidly when a lot of the baby boomers were retiring to 11% now (maybe 12% not sure I've been out of the game since 2008). Keep in mind that the pension sounds like a nice option to those who do not have one, but there are a couple of factors to keep in mind. First, if your number of years and age (determined by a formula) totals around 92 years, you can retire with a pension equaling 80% of your three highest years of income. However, once you die, the benefit ends for a spouse for example, unless you take a lower % of your pension that you declared at the beginning. Second, public educators do not collect social security because they do not pay into the system. In terms of the health insurance, that is a town by town determination. In many MA towns, the employee/teacher share for health care is 40% - 50% and in other towns, it's 20% - 25%, etc... That is completely determined and bargained in each town. I think it's very hard for private sector people to make a financial analysis of the public sector and vice versa. Neither is better or worse than the other - they are just different
Derek from Framingham June 06, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Greg - we all seem to hear this same excuse of not being able to compare things apples to apples especially for the school system. We try to consolidate duplicate positions on the school side and the municipal side and all we ever hear is that we can't because the school side is just so different from everything else. In terms of a financial analysis - I just don't see it being that tough. How much you contribute to health care (deductibles, copays, percentage of plan) is pretty basic math. Private does get social security but private has to pay into it as well as the employer. Believe me if I had the option years ago of paying into social security and getting the future benefit, or not paying in and investing it myself (and who knows maybe my employer even gives me a raise using some of the money it had to kick in) - I would have definitely opted out of the system. In terms of pensions, I think we could find some number cruncher who could come up with a figure of what a private sector person would have to contribute to get the same guaranteed return a public sector would get (noting that private sector with their 401Ks might not be able to choose from the riskier stock market to guarantee the return.) You also have to put a value on vacation time since these nowadays time is also a very important commodity especially with people working more and more. And the list goes on. .. Not entirely the same but not to hard to do a reasonable analysis.
Greg Palmer June 06, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Derek, I don't disagree with anything you said - and even after having been involved in these processes, I still feel like it's a complicated issue. In terms of the retirement piece - I think if people in the private sector with similar educational degrees (Masters and Doctorates) and similar paying jobs - hopefully higher with larger earning possiblities, were forced to put away 10-12% per year into some sort of 401K (with or without any company matching program), they would do quite well at retirement age with SS as a nice supplement. I guess a lot of it has to do with how long you live after you retire as well.

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