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School Committee to Vote on ESP Contract, Possible Outsourcing Tonight

The North Kingstown School Committee will decide on the fate of the district's Educational Support Professionals at tonight's meeting.

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.

NKGOP Watch June 26, 2012 at 03:22 AM
This is a tough issue for those losing their positions, and when Mr Plunkett went way over his 3 minutes I have to say that Mrs Page handled it graciously. When someone called for the police to be used, Page said "I'm not going to start having the police escort people out". BRAVO! He WAS over his time, but Page handled it well.
Support NK June 26, 2012 at 12:39 PM
YES. The ESP has been in negotiation for over a year and has negotiated in good faith. Repeatedly, the ESP has submitted proposals based on the numbers given by the Superintendent, and when submitted, the ESP was asked where they got the numbers from! When negotiation first began, the Superintendent was looking for concessions from the ESP of approx. $600,000 and over a year later, it's $1.6 million!?
Support NK June 26, 2012 at 01:06 PM
The meeting did not concern your so called UNION TEACHERS, it concerned the ESP (Educational Support Staff). These are the people who make $15,000 - $17,000 a year. The majority do not work in the summer, do not get paid during the summer, and if they choose to work summer school, get paid $4.00 less per hour than their normal rate of pay. They do this for the children of North Kingstown. As for the health care and pensions, the ESP contributes to the share, but pensions? As for the 15% increase for health care, that would be approx. $3000.00 out of a $17,000 a year wage, bringing the average pay for a majority of the ESP to $14,000!? These are just a few of the FACTS. For some reason, it is so hard to defend ourselves without the public thinking that we are greedy, money-grubbing, UNION fat cats, always looking for more. If we were looking for more, we would be working elsewhere!
Concerned Resident June 26, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Difficult times call for difficult decisions. Unlike in the private sector, custodial staff is being offered positions with GCA. One would think that all involved would be grateful to have the opportunity for continued employment.
Daniel Herzberg June 26, 2012 at 03:17 PM
"ENHANCED WAGES" IS A TOTAL LIE - AUTHOR - Samantha Turner! SINCE WHEN DOES A PERSON CONSIDER, "Enhanced Wages", RECEIVING A PAY DECREASE - GOING FROM $14 PER HOUR TO MINUMUM WAGE! THAT'S SOME GOOD MISLEADING WORDING SAMANTHA TURNER! Not to mention, all the costodians were asked to show up to the meeting @ 7pm., only to make them all sit there for 3hrs. and wait until their contract officially ended @ 10pm., to come out and break the news that they were all *FIRED* !! Not even your worst enemy would pull that kind of business!!!! -Daniel Herzberg

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