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Pay Frozen For Support Staff in Second Vote

ESP's one-percent pay raise has been dropped to a salary freeze after a second vote from the school committee.

Overturning its decision , the North Kingstown School Committee re-voted on the matter Tuesday night – freezing salaries for remaining Educational Support Professionals (ESP) employees.

ESP’s contract dominated discussion on both Monday and Tuesday nights as the committee denied an arbitrators contract award. Instead, the committee made unilateral changes to ESP staff (including the elimination of life insurance, increased health insurance cost share, reduction of sick and personal days, etc.) and terminated the school department’s custodial staff in anticipation of outsourcing in an .

After returning from a mid-meeting executive session, John Boscardin – who had voted in support of Larry Ceresi’s motion to grant a one-percent raise – asked for the committee to reconsider Superintendent Phil Auger’s recommendation to freeze salaries for the group.

“That raise takes dollars away from programs that directly impact students’ opportunities for success,” said Boscardin.

Boscardin’s motion for a salary freeze passed 5-2 (with Ceresi and Bill Mudge opposing). Going into the night, the committee was tasked with closing a $211,000 gap in order to balance fiscal 2012 budget before it ended on June 30. Boscardin’s motion brought that figure down by nearly $68,000 and allowed the committee to avoid laying off a maintenance worker. According to the new director of administrative service, Mary King, the department’s maintenance crew has seen two retirements in the past year. Neither position has been filled.

To make up the rest of the budget gap, the committee voted to make other cuts and changes – including the reduction of food preparation at the district’s two middle school. Instead, food will be prepared at the high school and distributed to the middle schools.

The committee also held off on approving a contract with GCA to outsource its custodial service. According to school attorney Mary Ann Carroll, more details regarding the contract needed to be established between the two parties. The committee voted to authorize Chair Kimberly Page and Vice Chair Richard Welch to sign the finalized contract during its recess. (The committee is not scheduled to meet again until Aug. 14.)

NK Taxpayer, too July 07, 2012 at 03:37 AM
@common sense I agree with you that the TC should also have been diligent in controlling town payroll expenses. I attend TC & SC meetings or watch the videos. I also read the agendas and meeting minutes. We have been in this recession for almost 5 years, yet the SC continue to offer high starting wages and built in yearly raises for most, if not all, of their administrators. I am not only talking about the superintendent and the assistance superintendent, I am including department heads and all other administrators. Count them, we have many. Children are in our buildings from early morning to late at night. They are on school grounds at all hours. The ESP workers, and yes our custodians, are all child-facing employees; many of the administrators are not. The support staff personnel have a very important role in our children’s education because they are the people that our children see daily. For 5 years they have been told the ”sky is falling” yet the only deep cuts to employees’ salaries & benefits are made to the lowest paid employees. The issue with the SC is that they continue to fund raises for their most highly paid employees while attempting to either cut or outsource their lowest paid employees. Why should we focus on the highest paid employees to overturn this injustice? Because as the famous bank robber Willie Sutton said when asked why he robbed banks his answer was “that is where the money $$$$$$ (six figure administrator salary’s) is.”
ru4real July 07, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Right on point! The remarks, by Mr. Boscardin, concerning the contractual obligations to administration personnel depict what I feel is a double standard that this SC is operating under. The administration contracts are not guaranteed, nor is there a union issue involved as far as I know, then the question becomes--why doesn't the SC freeze or cut at these levels? The pain should be shared by all not on a selective basis. This is but one of many inequities that our current collection of elected officials has forced upon the people of NK. I say once again--Remember in November, those that forget now!!
Reality Bites July 07, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Are these ESP staffers the only ones that bleed? Give me a break!! THey only care about what affects them no concern about the rest of the taxpayers in town. So I should go hungry or lose my house so they can have what they want. Wake up!
Tina Bilodeau July 07, 2012 at 04:03 PM
So I should go hungry and lose my house because the sc made to co share go up $3000.00 in one year instead of doing it the way the arbitrators award stated to do it - in increments? WOW, subtract $3000 per year from your wages! The custodials are expected to stand aside and be railroaded into their families going hungry and losing their houses? Is this the way we are going to continue in this state? Too bad, too sad? Survival of the fittest? Again, the ESP offered the SC $1.7 million while saving the custodials their jobs and all ESP paying the co shares, but the SC took the $1.6 million and fired them! THIS IS A FACT!
Reality Bites July 07, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Tina your facts are what your union leadership feeds you. Go out and find out what the private sector has been facing for along time. All your whinning is falling upon deaf ears!! There is NO MONEY we are taxed out paying for what you feel are entilements. In the private sector we are paying between 40-60% of our insurance costs. Sign me up for the 15% get real the gravy train has left the station.!
Common Sense July 07, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Ru4real: I get it, you don't think that the school depart. should pay market rate for the administrators or the ESP staff. Ask the principals when they last received a raise. You also don't see the need for an asssistant super to help manage almost 400 educators plus 200 ESP staff. All you appear to care about is you. Check out RI GL 16.2 the S/C is chaged with providing the education of the children not providing food service or in house custodians. That is not part of education. You would have the S/C sacrifice the education program for the sake of the non-Ed staffing, great. Wake up...18 months of talks that ended in arbitration...why because the realty of the economy and T/C budget just didn't sink in. I would bet that the only reason that this contract wasn't settled was because of the state union protecting their other district contract talks. NEARI the union of John LIEdecker, do you remember him? Stop bleeding for all of the union propaganda. They are only counting dues and could care less for these people.
DaffodillGirl July 07, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Thanks for saying what so many of us think, "Reality Bites", enough is enough! My husband and I are both working jobs with no benefits right now just to try to make ends meet. We both have BS degrees and are paying our own benefits, a cost that is currently more than our mortgage. I'm so sick of hearing about reduced sick days (have none), reduced benefits (have none), reduced vacation days (have none) and don't even start with having to pay 15% of insurance costs. I wish I had that! There's no more money! Who's supposed to bear this for you? Me? The students? Enough! Move on if you're unhappy. There are plenty of people who need jobs and would be thrilled with what ESP have!
NK Taxpayer, too July 07, 2012 at 07:53 PM
You’re missing the point. ESP made the concessions that the SC asked for. Plus, they gave the SC more than what was asked for. But, they still fired the custodians. Of course, that is not enough. YOU think more ESP group members should be privatized. What do you think is going to happen? You think private companies’ fees and rates are not going to increase. Oh, but I know your answer- If the private companies become too expensive we’ll just keep putting these jobs out to bid. We are talking about a school department here not a company warehouse! Children need stability & consistency. Some are not getting this at home. A survey taken asked children were they feel the safest ie. home, grandparents’ home, their school, etc. Many children checked off their school. Again what the school department did was not about money and certainly not to benefit our children. It was about power!!!!!
Dark star July 07, 2012 at 09:22 PM
@TTaotT: First off, you are just believing what the union or your friend in the ESP or the silly flyer the Catholic church has been distributing(which may jeopardize their 501c tax-expemtion status). That is not the whole story. If you really want to make an informed opinion, then contact one of the four SC members that voted in favor. Listen with an open mind, let them show you their numbers (which really are the only true numbers) and then formulate your opinion. Until you have done that, you are blindly following.
seed and soil July 07, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Interesting debate here. I'm curious to pitch out how people feel about the concept of consolidation of school districts as a form of tax dollar savings. I have often wondered what the pros and cons of moving to (possibly) a South County central school administration. It seems to me to be an idea whose time for consideration has arrived. Thoughts???
NK Long Time Resident July 07, 2012 at 11:18 PM
S&S As a mother of 2 and a concerned citizen of NK, I agree with you that a regional South County central school administration should be explored. In our small town, we duplicate administrators in other nearby towns with very expensive six figure salaries. In any other state but RI with our 39 cities and towns, this duplication would not take place. In other states, the school districts are much larger, which has to be more efficient than the small, expensive districts with multiple expensive administrators that we presently have in place.
Tina Bilodeau July 08, 2012 at 01:18 AM
DaffodillGirl, I have been there and have done that. Worked in the private sector, job eleimination, mortgage $1100, Cobra $900, fighting an illegal foreclosure, turned down for assistance because mt husband made $50 too much a month, but this is not about just me. This is about the continuation of taking it out on the working class people (including you). Budgets are not met and taxes continue to increase due to the town and states mismanagement of money. The government bailes out the banks, people get no help, but the CEOs are the ones that get the big RAISES. School Dept. has a budget problem, fire the janitors, and give administration RAISES. The ESP members are not fighting for the unions, we are fighting for what we worked so hard for in the last 5,10,15,20,years. Again, the ESP offered the SC $1.7 million while saving the custodials their jobs and all ESP paying the co shares, but the SC took the $1.6 million and fired them! THIS IS A FACT! Please, by all means, contact the SC and ask them why they refused to sit down before the Tuesday night meeting and review the offer THAT THEY ASKED FOR! They asked for the concessions and REFUSED TO MEET.
Common Sense July 08, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Your not happy now just wait if they ever consolidate. Just ask the folks in Charleston why they wanted out of Chariho Regional System, ask the folks in West Greenwich how much fun it is trying to get Exeter to pony up their share of funds and talk to the people in Bristol that are in court with Warren to get the money they owe to their school system. Add to that loss of local influence in the program and unequal influence based on enrollment. Yea thats what you want. Instead of wasting your time here stop by the super's office and get some facts and express your opinion and actually learn something. It is truely amazing that you people that spend so much time here and none at the meetings of the T/C or S/C. Nothing said here will change anything. If you truely care start attending the meetings. Make sure you know who you vote for this November and do vote. You can't complain if you don't vote.
NK Long Time Resident July 08, 2012 at 03:28 AM
CS Please note we were not discussing Chariho and I do attend the NK town council and SC school committee meetings when possible. What we were discussing in the previous blob about was the potential merger of a South County Central School Administration District which might include North Kingstown, Exeter, Jamestown and potentially East Greenwich. Unlike your example, these are fiscally stable towns and they could potentially save a substantial amount of money by consolidation of administration expense into a Regional School District. Please remember that the administrative salary's are far and away the most expensive within the school department and are duplicated from town to town. Seriously we need to find solutions to this problem.
ru4real July 08, 2012 at 11:46 AM
CS 1st--I am not a union member which you appear to assert, just another NK taxpayer. 2nd--Your insinuation that I am a self absorbed individual is laughable. Your attempt at putting your spin on my words is juvenile. 3rd--Your insinuation that I have ever stated anything about sacrificing education programs is absurd. I have simply stated that I believe the pain/sacrifice should be shared by all, from the top to the bottom. I do not believe that handing out any type of bonus or incentive is appropriate at this time. I believe that cuts should be proportional, again from top to bottom. I have also stated repeatedly that the SD budget needs a very thorough forensic type audit by a real outside agency, not connected in anyway to the SC, TC or Union, tough to find but they are available. Many NK taxpayers believe that there are questionable accounting practices within the SD budget. Certainly you agree that most of us are not CPAs and as taxpayers, we deserve and should demand a budget form that CLEARLY depicts ALL expenditures. This is not an unreasonable request. If an audit like I suggest is undertaken it might be very enlightening to all of the NK taxpayers. It may also put to rest many of the self interest arguments that are put forth in forums like the Patch or on the streets of NK. How about it CS let's turn the lights on and peak behind the curtains. Let's see who and what is really pulling the levers.
melissa July 08, 2012 at 11:55 AM
BUT you vote yes for EVERY BOND ISSUE they put before you, don't blame the ESP for increasing taxes, blame the town council and the school committee,
seed and soil July 08, 2012 at 12:29 PM
@commonsense...never said "wasn't happy". Really just trying to consider other money saving theories/options. You refer to "wasting time here". Most people do not have the time in their busy professional schedules to attend evening meetings, and experience has proven to many that all the meeting attending/letter writing/fact finding has had little effect on outcomes. Many in the community - let's call them the silent majority - read these strings. The service the Patch does in helping to promote communication within the community is tremendous! Having the opportunity for people to share facts and views is essential to the growth, change and development we see going on on the local and national scene. Take a look at the group who pitched their hats in the ring for the next election cycle. For the first time in a very long time, North Kingstown has a vast field of choices! I very much appreciate you sharing what you feel are the cons of consolidation theory. Hope to see more comments from others on their thoughts/experiences/facts/ideas on consolidation. Experiencing a paradigm shift to: "I don't have to agree with you to like and respect you", our community would be well served. And YES...I second your GET OUT THERE AND VOTE!
NK Taxpayer, too July 08, 2012 at 02:25 PM
NKSD administration salaries. I’ve just research a few of them. Dr. Auger makes more than our top RI Officials. Here’s how much Rhode Island’s quintet of top officials will make this year: • Governor: $129,210 • Attorney General: $115,610 • Lt. Governor: $108,808 • Secretary of State: $108,808 • General Treasurer: $108,808 • Dr. Phil Auger 2011-12 $138,000, 2012-13- $140,000 with a $1380 merit increase, 2013-2014 $142,000 with a possible merit increase. • Michele Humbyrd 2012-2013 $116,000. Dr. Humbyrd has a three year contact with a 1.4% yearly increase. • Patricia Pezzullo Director of Pupil Personel $110,000 effective 7/30/12. • Mary King Director of Administrative Service $110,000 Hired this spring.
ru4real July 08, 2012 at 02:48 PM
seed- I agree that regional school consolidation is an interesting topic. It brings to mind the idea that was put forth in regards to Wickford El a couple of years ago. The idea was a regional facility for all of So. Cty. special needs students who are now bussed daily for many miles and hours. As I recall the idea got barely any interest because this TC seemed to be inclined to either consolidate town offices into Wickford El or sell it to a developer. The point being that thinking outside the box often appears to be so radical that virtually no seed germinates unless it has a preordained purpose and end result. The full backing of the taxpaying public would be needed to get it off the dime. With that said I believe that the potential tax savings could be enormous for all of So. Cty. As a taxpayer I would be very interested in the concept. It's a subject that is worthy of much greater discussion. I can hear the teeth of some grinding already. It would certainly be an interesting exercise just to quantify the dollars and cents of the issue.
Common Sense July 08, 2012 at 04:27 PM
TToT thanks for your numbers investagation but what are you comparing them to, elected positions that do not require education, your don't need a college eduation to run for gov. Check out the other districts in RI and then recognize that each has a different resume and are we really going to hire based on salary alone or does advanced degree and experience count? You neglected to note that three of these administrators have Doctorates and Mrs. Pezzullo has two and as for Mrs. King she only has an MBA and is a CPA...credentials are important and demand higher pay.. and the resluts speak for themselves...National recognition for our high school for A P Courses, the amount offered, amount of students taking them, amount of students taking the national exam and amount passing the exam...the only high school in Rhode Island so acknowledged. In a previous post I combined items that more than one person wrote while addressing only one person, sorry I didn't mean to do that.
NK Taxpayer, too July 08, 2012 at 05:17 PM
@Common Sense While School Administrators do have advanced degrees, so do many of our State Executives and Legislators. At the state level they work with much larger budgets than at the town level. In particular, one State Executive- General Treasurer Gina Raimondo ( Salary - $108,808), whom I provided salary comparisons for, has an educational background and experience that far exceeds either our NK School Superintendent or for that matter probably any other school administrator in RI. Yet she earns much less in compensation. Gina Raimondo graduated from Harvard 1st in her class, has a Doctorate in Law from Yale Law School and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. As for experience she was co-founder and general partner of Point Judith Capital, a successful venture capital firm in the private sector. Question: Why are we paying administrators like Dr. Auger $141,380 when his educational background, experience and responsibilities are pale in comparison to someone like Ms. Raimondo?
Common Sense July 08, 2012 at 08:23 PM
TToT you really missed the point...Gina is well educated but she didn't have to be to run for office... and btw I like her style and what she has accomplished but that is not the issue here. If you are to be an administrator you have to be state certified as such...principal, assistant principal, assistant super, super and director of pupil services etc...you can't fill the position with out that and you compete with others that do apply for an open position and are judged accordingly. To be an elected offical you only have to run for office and receive what that position pays. If Gina wanted to make what the super makes she needs to be certified and apply for an open position and compete with the other candidates. I think that you need to step back and understand the difference. Gina probable didn't run to make more than the super but to accomplish something which she did. She probably made more in the private sector than she is making now.
NK Taxpayer, too July 08, 2012 at 11:43 PM
CS: Point taken, however, we are spending significant sums on large six figure salaries for a school administration of a small town. If we are really serious about saving money we must pursue regionalization, so that we obtain the benefits. Superintendents in other states manage much larger systems, many of which are a large as the entire state of RI. A start would be regionalization based upon our county, Washington County. This opinion was voiced in the Providence Journal commentary in today’s July 8th edition page F7 titled “RI: Regionalize now and ditch manana mania” by Leonard Lardaro, economist at the University of RI. He refers to RI as “Redundancy Island” emphasizing that extreme redundancy in the states municipal services has raised overhead and translated into higher property taxes, which are a deterrent to business growth. This is happening in RI with the second highest unemployment rate in the country. So what does our wise (NOT) NK SC do to address these problems? They provide merit raises to the highest paid administrators (no sacrifice there) & imposed severe concessions on their lowest paid employees and terminate 26 custodians who had over 400 years of service between them.
Dark star July 10, 2012 at 12:54 AM
@TTaotT, you sir/madam are incorrect about the indemnity plan. The healthcare provider for GSA in Rhode Island is United Healthcare. You may ant to consider changing your moniker to Occasionally the Truth or Mostly Inaccurate or Close Once in a While.
Common Sense July 11, 2012 at 12:59 AM
TToT: one issue at a time please. Do you really think that you can pay less for quality people because you are from a small town? That is an interesting approach and good luck with that. You have to pay for quality and I think that we want quality not the lowest priced employees to teach our students. If that is what you want I believe that you are in a minority in North Kingstown. Money is an important ingredient in creating a high performing school district and if you pay peanuts you will get monkeys. The discussion on regionalization is for another day. Right now the protection of the school district's program is primary and anything less is not on the agenda.
Dark star July 11, 2012 at 01:09 AM
@TTaotT maybe you should run for school committee and put your thoughts into actions....or at least attend a school committee meeting and voice your concerns at the microphone, directly to the people that are making all the wrong decisions. You still haven't answered my question as to which sc member you contacted for additional information.
NK Taxpayer, too July 11, 2012 at 02:01 AM
T of NK antics and Common Sense I think the two of you are confused. I believe the blogger you want to direct your negative rantings at is NK Parent 2. Seriously, T of NK Antics & CS, I’m worried about you two. I think both of you have caught a case of “too much negative blogging syndrome” . You get confused to what blog you are giving your misinformation to. Gee, I hope it not contagious; there are too many self-serving bloggers out there and it might get too confusing for us bloggers wanting to read only factual information. @NK Parent 2 Thank you for putting the GCA problems information out there again. I’m just as worried about our town’s kids. Any other parent or town resident that is worried about the SC giving this horrendous company the ability to hire people that will be in the buildings and grounds with our kids please contact the SC members ASAP. Go to the NKSD website and click on School Committee to find information on how to contact the
Dark star July 11, 2012 at 02:11 AM
it is difficult to tell you idiots apart.
NK_Voter July 11, 2012 at 02:56 AM
So what? Apples to oranges. Does a para have a doctorate? The responsibility the Superintendent has? The skills he has? Why shouldn't he be paid more...he earns it! If you don't like your pay, work hard like he/she did and get a better job. I am a little tired of the class warfare garbage some shovel....
NK_Voter July 11, 2012 at 03:07 AM
CS..Why you keep making the 10 million claim when people have corrected you time after time means you are woefully ignorant or just have an agenda to push and the truth be darned. The 10 million is required as a reserve to keep a good bond rating for the town. A rating that lets us borrow for large capital projects. While you may wish to spend all to keep the unions happy at the taxpayer funded teat, many of us prefer not to go the way of Warwick, East Providence, Woonsocket.....

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