Author: Tom Marble

Parties debate health plans at open negotiations

Ongoing teacher contract negotiations last Tuesday centered primarily on a debate over healthcare options. The two-hour session began with Colchester School District representatives presenting new healthcare and salary plans. The board’s new salary offer increased slightly, from a 2 percent raise per year over three years, to a 2.15 percent increase in the first year and 2.2 percent in subsequent years. On healthcare, the district offered a healthcare reimbursement arrangement, or HRA, an employer-funded account that reimburses employees for out-of-pocket expenses and premiums. Although new hires wouldn’t be eligible for an HRA, they could choose from four plan options...

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Report estimates $20M for school fixes

Preliminary scope and budget reports compiled for Union Memorial and Porters Point schools found a full renovation would cost around $10 million per building. The district is now weighing two options: renovating the schools and reconfiguring them from their K-2 structure to include preschool through second grade, or building a new facility to house preK-2 district-wide. Although no numbers have been finalized and the district is still in the early stages of considering its options, the assessment, conducted by Black River Design, analyzes the infrastructure of each building and highlights critical needs. The report also lists estimated costs associated...

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Colchester woman in I-89 crash

Vermont State Police issued two tickets following a two-vehicle collision in Winooski on the Exit 15 northbound ramp last week. Thea M. Wescott, 20, of Richmond was cited for following too closely and operating without insurance after her car struck the rear end of a 2017 BMW 330 driven by Mary S. Griffo, 64, of Colchester on Wednesday, March 1. Wescott was fined $220 and received five points on her license as a result of the collision. She was fined an additional $162 and received two more points on her license for lack of insurance. Neither speed nor impairment...

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School district takes contract talks public

Since teacher contract negotiations between the Colchester School Board and the Colchester Education Association began on December 13, every session has been open to the public for the first time. Although parts of the teacher contract negotiations were publically accessible when the contract was last renegotiated three years ago, CSD superintendent Amy Minor said this is the first time the district has had “full, open negotiations.” “We tested open negotiations three years ago,” said Lincoln White, one of the three school trustees on the negotiating team. “We were one of the first in the state to do it.” Unlike...

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Report: Enrollment in schools to stabilize

A recent Colchester School District demographic study found that enrollment over the next 10 years will stabilize. The report, compiled by McKibben Demographics, analyzes a variety of factors including resident fertility rate, in and out migration, class sizes moving through the district and the rate, magnitude and price of current home sales, among other things. “Obtaining the demographic report is important for districts to do because we are trying to do long-term budgeting,” CSD superintendent Amy Minor said. Having this information will also allow the district to be more accurate in determining future class sizes, setting staff schedules and...

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