By Mike Melanson
Express Associate Editor
KINGSTON — The Silver Lake Regional School Committee and the Silver Lake Education Association on Thursday Jan. 8 ratified a new teachers’ contract.
The three-year contract is retroactive to July and provides pay raises of 1.8-percent, 1.9-percent and 2-percent over the next three years, according to School Committee member Maureen Springer of Plympton, who praised the teachers union members.
“We thank you very much for your patience. We hope we can work together well into the future as we have in the past,” she said.
High School English teacher Kimberly Orcutt, who is president of the SLEA, thanked the community for their patience and support, and said teachers are glad to be back into their regular routines.
“I wanted to thank you all, the community, the teachers, for working with us in the negotiations,” she said. “We’re back together again. Thank you.”
Level-services budget presented
Tuffy presented a draft $23.7-million fiscal 2016 budget that would increase spending by 5.3-percent or $1.2-million over this year.
The budget is level-services because it assumes that all of this year’s programs funded this year will continue at the same level of service as next year, he said.
Tuffy said the spending plan would add a Grade 8 math teacher to address student scores and curriculum changes. It would also add funding for an assistant swim coach and freshmen volleyball coach at the high school, as both sports are popular.
The budget assumes that health insurance costs will increase by 5-percent. It also funds the new assessment the district must pay to the Plymouth County Retirement Board, and assumes an adjustment for Medicare costs. There are no adjustments for utilities and shared costs yet figured into the draft budget.
“This is the first time you are looking at it,” Tuffy told school board members. “Please take it home and look at it.”
Capital needs funding approved
The School Committee approved a $619,000 capital needs package, funding it in this year’s budget by drawing from the district’s $1.1-million in excess and deficiency or free cash funds.
“We’re using half of it. That’s conservative,” said School Committee member Mark Guidoboni of Kingston.
The plans includes funding to:
* Add indoor and outdoor cameras: $22,000.
* Set up a new campus-wide, two-way radio system: $22,000.
* Install a new middle school keyless entry system: $5,000.
* Replace the accounting system: $90,000.
* Fund the district’s OPEB liability: $100,000.
* Repair and resurface the track: $120,000.
* Repair and resurface the tennis courts: $30,000.
* Repair parking lot cracks: $11,000.
* Replace the JV baseball backstop: $19,000.
* Build one new athletic storage shed, do prep work for a second such shed: $60,000.
* Build a new middle school storage shed: $18,000.
* Buy additional high school and middle school furniture: $11,000.
* Install an additional 75 high school lockers: $17,000.
* Conduct an exterior envelope evaluation of the high school and middle school: $24,000.
* Resurface carpentry and metal fabrication floors: $40,000.
* Study the feasibility of installing solar generation facilities at the high school and middle school: $10,000.
* Make safety repairs to Sirrico field lighting poles: $20,000.