The SAD 49 Education Association have been attempting to negotiate a fair contract for the educational technicians, speech assistants and occupational therapist assistants with the SAD 49 school board since March 2022. These school staff are crucial in ensuring our students can learn; they help those who need the most support. That’s why it’s most upsetting that the school board in SAD 49 opted to pay a high-priced attorney to fight the school support staff during contract negotiations rather than provide competitive pay and benefits to their employees.

Since July, staff have been working with an expired contract. The board’s refusal to reach a fair agreement has caused highly qualified staff to leave for nearby districts that offer more competitive pay and benefits. At last count, SAD 49 has 29 ed tech spots unfilled. The lack of staff has had detrimental consequences for our students who need extra support; many were asked to come to school for half days or to stay home all day due to lack of staff to educate them safely.

To help find a solution, the SAD 49 Education Association asked for affordable health insurance for our poorest employees, competitive wages to attract and retain quality staff to care for students, two paid holidays to directly compete with neighboring districts that have at least eight paid holidays, and more flexibility for paid time off to follow Maine law.

As a taxpayer this makes me angry that my money is going towards paying legal fees and lining a lawyer’s pockets rather than making our district competitive in attracting more staff to help keep all our students safe, learning, and enjoying school.

It’s long past time taxpayers understand how their money is being spent. I implore you to tell the school board in SAD 49 to settle the contract and give support staff in SAD 49 what they deserve.


Autumn Quick


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