GMUSD board OKs contract, appoints new member, seeks safety upgrades in Cavendish

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Board member Doug McBride, right, notes that they are almost a full year into the two-year contract they are ratifying. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

The board of directors of the Green Mountain Unified School District  ratified its agreement with its support staff at a special meeting last Thursday, but not without questions about the timing of the work.

The agreement, which covers para-educators, personal care assistants, food service workers, bus drivers and custodians, was complicated because it aimed to reconcile differences in the working conditions and pay for employees who had worked under different contracts before the Act 46 merger that created the unified district.

Joe Fromberger and Meg Powden point to circumstances that delayed the contract

Board member Doug McBride pointed out that the board was ratifying the two-year agreement almost at the end of the first year. He then introduced a motion to ratify but also to direct Superintendent Meg Powden to “use her best efforts to begin negotiations as soon as allowed” under the current agreement and to reach a new one before June 30, 2020.

Powden objected to McBride’s motion noting that a negotiation is two-sided and saying that he was making the assumption that management was at fault for the delay.  Board chair Joe Fromberger said that these contracts are subject to review by lawyers for both sides, which add to the delay.

McBride said both points were fair, but went ahead with his motion, which was passed unanimously.

‘New’ board member, safety issues

Wayne Wheelock of Baltimore replaces Kathy Muther on the GMUSD board.

With the resignation of Kathy Muther, Baltimore was left without its one representative on the board. Fromberger pointed to the law that gives the board the right to appoint Muther’s replacement and noted that after consultation with the Baltimore Select Board, Wayne Wheelock had stepped forward to take the seat.

Wheelock currently serves as the treasurer of the district and has served on school boards for a number of years leading up to the merger. Wheelock also serves as Baltimore’s representative on a number of regional boards.

At the beginning of the meeting, McBride asked to have safety issues added to the agenda. He told the board that for a number of weeks the lights that signal a reduced speed when flashing in the school zone on Main Street in Cavendish have not been working.

He also said that a crosswalk, “school crossing” graphics and other lines painted on the streets have all but disappeared. McBride said these were safety issues that needed to be corrected urgently and moved to have the superintendent see to them and also on a “non-urgent” basis look into lights for the CTES parking lot and report to the board when the budgeted safety gates would be installed at the school.

After some discussion about who was responsible for what, the motion passed.

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