The North Kingstown School Committee is scheduled to hold a special meeting tonight to vote on a contract for the district's Educational Support Professionals (ESP). According to Superintendent Phil Auger, both the school department and ESP (which consists of custodians and other paraprofessionals throughout the school department) are expecting the arbitrator's decision Monday afternoon in anticipation of tonight's meeting.
The two sides have been in arbitration since April after negotiations last fall fell through. According to Auger, the arbitrator's award is a pivotal piece of finalizing the school department's budget and could mean more cuts, or even outsourcing of the district's custodial services.
"We really need to make about $1 million in concessions [with this award] in order for us to balance our budget," said Auger. "Anything we don't make up in that, we'll have to find the cuts somewhere else."
The main areas of contention in the contract are the elimination of health care for employees who work fewer than 30 hours per week, elimination of life insurance, reduction of personal days and sick days and a salary freeze. The award is expecting to be delivered Monday afternoon. (As of 1:30 p.m., the contract award has not been released.)
Tonight's meeting is at 7:30 p.m. at the high school. Click here for the agenda.