Teacher contracts challenge as school board merger starts

WILTON – The complicated process of combining Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative High School and two elementary schools into one cooperative board has begun, with the major consideration being teacher contracts.

“We have to have one contract ready for voters in March,” Assistant Superintendent Trevor Ebel told the Wilton-Lyndeborough Board on Wednesday.

Each of the three schools has separate contracts, with separate pay and benefits schedules, with teachers and support staffs. Ebel suggested the negotiations committee consist of two cooperative board members and one each from Florence Rideout and Lyndeborough Central.

A single budget for the three schools also has to be worked out. To do that, Ebel suggested there should be subcommittees to look at facilities, policies and curriculum.

Also suggested is a monthly meeting for all three districts. A meeting of School Administrative Unit 63 is scheduled for March 31.

At that time, some of the consolidation issues will be discussed.

Board Member Harry Dailey suggested that the minutes of all three school boards be posted online “so we can all be aware of what everyone is doing.”

The Lyndeborough Central board will meet April 9 and the co-op board will meet again April 7. The Florence Rideout board met April 1.

Voters at annual meeting decided to combine the separate Wilton and Lyndeborough School Districts into the current Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative School District. The move, which has been discussed for some time, was spurred by the withdrawal of the Mascenic School District from School Administrative Unit 63, which covers Wilton and Lyndeborough as well as the three Mascenic towns.