Public Hearing For School Retention Bonuses, Aug. 2

By Alex Malm

During the July 19 School Board meeting it was announced by School Board Chair, Amy Finamore, the board would be having a public hearing on Aug. 2 regarding a matter that was discussed during a non-public session on July 5.
She explained that last spring the School Board spent time in each of the schools checking in with staff and listened to their concerns and goals for the future.
“This is a practice the School Board plans to continue next year and in years to come to support all of our employees in successful and fulfilling careers in our district,” said Finamore.
Finamore explained one of the specific struggles they heard in each of the schools was the struggle to be fully staffed for support staff, which causes difficulty in daily operations throughout the district. She said the last few months they have had open dialogues about it and how to address it.
Finamore stated going into the school year, they are proposing to have a one-time support staff benefit, specifically a retention bonus, “That hopefully encourages all staff covered by the support staff union to return for the 2022-23 school year.”
“As a school board, based on what we heard and observed this school year we know we need to address the amount of support staff vacancies immediately as these shortages put too much strain and stress on our entire school system,” said Finamore.
Finamore said that the bonus would be $500 for all staff covered under the support staff union that returns this fall. She said that other issues would be addressed during collective bargaining.
During his most recent letter to families, Londonderry Superintendent, Dan Black, explained they are looking for more people to apply for positions in order to help with staffing issues.
“We know we will need a lot of support in some areas with staffing to start this school year,” said Black. “Over the last couple of years, it has become clear that we are not able to compete in the rapidly-changing labor market when it comes to our hourly staff positions. In time, we will use the collective bargaining process with our Support Staff Union to adjust to the labor market around us, but that will not happen by the first day of school. If you are able to work in our schools, even a couple hours a week, that would be hugely beneficial to our students and our schools.”
Black stated those who like working with kids and want to get more involved with the schools are encouraged to reach out to Melissa Thomson by emailing her at mthomson@londonderry.org to discuss the openings the district has.
“We intend to bring this ‘call for help’ to the community at large as well so please share this need with family members and others in our community who might be interested,” said Black. “Working together with our families and community, we hope to bridge this gap for our schools.”

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