The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 14, 2003


FinCom targets CCHS teachers' contract

The teachers' contract at Concord-Carlisle High School drives approximately half of the school's budget. This contract, which is up for renewal this year, establishes both the pay scale for teachers as well as the teacher work rules.

At the Carlisle FinCom hearing on the CCHS FY04 budget on February 5, FinCom member Debra Belanger pressed CCHS superintendent Gene Thayer to reveal the teacher contract cost assumptions included in the budget. Thayer declined, given that contract negotiations are currently under way. Carlisle resident Ralph Anderson stated that he had requested information on the teachers' salaries under a Freedom of Information request and found that 33% of the CCHS faculty were at the top "step" of their salary grade. The top teacher received over $100,000 in compensation. Some of the teachers at that top step have received raises in excess of 7%, versus a rate of inflation of just over 1%. Regional school committee (RSC) chair Betsy Bilodeau acknowledged that CCHS "pays teachers well because we want good teachers."

Following the meeting, Bilodeau explained the salary structure at CCHS. Teachers' compensation is based on a complicated formula, involving "steps" on a ladder, where each step is one year of teaching experience. There are 17 steps at CCHS, with each step change (each year) earns a teacher an automatic 4% increase in pay. The second part of the formula is "lanes," where each lane represents its own ladder. The more education a teacher has, the more senior the lane and the greater the pay earned at each step on that lane's ladder. In addition, each teacher receives a cost-of-living adjustment each year (3% in 2002-3). Once a teacher has ten years working for the region, additional compensation, called longevity, is earned. Finally, certain positions, such as coach or department chair, earn additional pay. This compensation plan is designed to attract and retain teachers for CCHS. Bilodeau states that a teacher's total compensation might increase 10% annually, based on a combination of the cost of living increase, step change increase and longevity compensation.

There are currently 129 teachers at CCHS. Twenty-six teachers earn under $30,000 annually because they teach part-time. The remaining teachers earn between $30,000 and $100,000, with one teacher earning over $100,000 (see table).

In addition, the contract specifies benefits and limits contact hours. At CCHS teachers are limited to teaching a maximum of four classes or 95 students per week.

FinCom member Allison responded that the teachers' contract is the cost driver and that it is essential to get "greater productivity" out of the upcoming contract in order to control costs. Allison's implicit point is that modifying the existing constrictive student to teacher ratio and teachers' hours per week must be part of the negotiating strategy.

RSC vice-chair Michael Fitzgerald, who is on the team renegotiating the contract, reminded the FinCom that legal considerations preclude any discussion of the contract in an open forum while it is being renegotiated.

CCHS Teachers Compensation
Salary Range
Number of Teachers
< $30,000
$30 - 40,000
$40 - 50,000
$50 - 60,000
$60 - 70,000
$70 - 80,000
$80 - 90,000
$90 -100,000
> $100,000

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito