March 2, 2009

Westerly School Committee Brings in a Professional

Monique Chartier

On August 31, the contract between the Westerly Teachers’ Association and the Town of Westerly expires. The Westerly School Committee has already lined up a professional negotiator to assist them with the new contract. From yesterday's Westerly Sun:

After seeking requests for proposals for an outside negotiator, the School Committee received responses from five applicants and interviewed two candidates in executive session in early January.

The board held subsequent discussions behind closed doors and, on Wednesday, voted in open session to hire [Attorney Daniel] Kinder, whose usual hourly rate is $350, according to Murano.

Mr. Kinder, whose list of clients currently includes the East Providence School Committee, has cut his hourly rate to $195.

Too often in Rhode Island, especially over the last couple of decades, school committees have chosen not to seek the assistance of a professional at contract time. This is reflected in the contrast of the national ranking of Rhode Island teacher salaries,

ninth highest in 2007/2008 (source: National Education Association)

to our academic achievement ranking,

forty first in 2007 (source: the American Legislative Exchange Council)
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Smart move. It's about time. It's a whole lot better than a bunch of plumbers, stay at home moms, programmers, middle managers, engineers, etc to be negotiating with highly experienced professionals from the NEA. Putting a group of people who may only have to do this once in their lives against another group who does it about 40 times every couple years just doesn't sound fair or smart.

Posted by: Patrick at March 2, 2009 11:25 AM

Of course, we in E.P. highly recommend Dan Kinder. Well worth the money.

There seems to be an inverse relationship between teacher pay and academic achievement. If we cut teacher pay in half, perhaps we could double our test scores! It's worth a shot...

Posted by: Will at March 2, 2009 8:21 PM
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