Manchester educators and students deserve better

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Manchester educators have received their first paycheck of the year, and nothing has changed. Steps are frozen for the fourth time in 6 years. Contract negotiations are stalled with no meeting scheduled with the school board negotiations committee, and MEA continues to wait for a salary proposal from the board.

No one on the school board or Board of Mayor and Aldermen is standing up to publicly ask why the negotiations are stalled. To the educators of Manchester, this creates a perception that they do not care about their employees. To add insult to injury, the Aldermen have voted to give all city employees who are currently negotiating contracts their expected pay steps, COLAs and/or longevity. While most city employees have longevity, Manchester educators do not. Manchester educators do not have Cost Of Living Adjustments either. It is fair and just to expect equal treatment and similar funding for the Manchester School District educators while they negotiate a new contract.

MEA has always expected our school board to be the strongest advocates for educators. MEA longs to return to the days when the MEA and the school board stood shoulder to shoulder making Manchester’s educators among the most fairly paid in the state.

The educators of Manchester deserve better treatment and respect from the Board of School Committee. Educators feel under-appreciated on both the school board and city sides. Approximately 1200 Manchester educators dedicate their time and professional work to the children of Manchester every day. Per student expenditures and educator salaries are among the lowest in the state.

It is hard to believe that this is really acceptable to the parents of the students and the community at large.

Sue Ellen Hannan is a teacher at Hillside Middle School and President of the Manchester Education Association.