OAKLAND — Regional School Unit 18 directors unanimously approved teacher and support staff contracts Wednesday evening.

Superintendent Gary Smith said he believed the district was one of the first in Maine since consolidation to develop new merged contracts.

School Administrative District 47 — Belgrade, Oakland, Rome and Sidney — merged with China and began operating in 2009 as Regional School Unit 18.

Teacher contracts were last approved in 2009-2010, Smith said, and the contract approved Wednesday night covered 2011-12 through 2013-14.

This year, teachers received a 2 percent increase, in 2013-14 they will receive a $750 increase, and in 2013-14, Smith said educators will be guaranteed at least a 2 percent increase. In 2010-11, Smith said teachers did not receive a pay increase.

“As of today, we have one contract for the district,” Smith said.

The new contract for teachers has 24 levels, said Smith, who added that levels do not equate with years of experience.

Negotiating teams had to simultaneously deal with multiple issues, said Smith.

For instance, China teachers generally started at higher salaries than teachers in the former School Administrative District 47, but those in SAD 47 generally were paid more at the top of the scale, Smith said.

Teachers in China had a 180-day contract while those in School Administrative District 47 were operating on a 184-day contract.

“It required both negotiating teams to roll up their sleeves and problem-solve together,” Smith said.

The support staff, which includes education technicians, custodians and nutrition employees, received no pay increase this school year.

In the contract approved Wednesday night for 2012-13 through 2014-15, support staff will get a 2 percent increase each year.

In general, Smith said personnel salaries and benefits equate to 75 to 80 percent of the total school budget, which this year is just shy of $32 million.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, directors unanimously approved surveillance cameras for Messalonskee high and middle schools, as well as China Middle School.

Smith said the cameras from Honeywell, which should aid with school safety and vandalism prevention, cost $132,741. He said they should be in place by the fall.

Smith requested and got permission from directors Wednesday to lock in heating oil and transportation fuel bids.

With fluctuating markets, Smith said the district could miss a good opportunity to get a good price if he has to wait until the next board meeting to get approval.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, China Middle School fifth-grade teacher Diane Lewis, technology specialist Miranda Babson and students Gavin Blanchard and Molly Babson presented “Look out Maine, here I come!: ALB – Short for Asian Long-horned Beetle,” a book the fifth-grade class published on CreateSpace.com.

Lewis said the paperback, which includes illustrations and a glossary of terms, can be purchased for $10 on amazon.com. Proceeds benefit the China School Forest.

Beth Staples — 861-9252

[email protected]


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