MARLBOROUGH – At the end of a School Committee meeting in which the teachers’ union announced a vote of no confidence in Superintendent Ernest Houle, the committee voted to extend Houle’s contract for another five years.
The vote came on Tuesday, May 16, after an executive session.
“The committee’s decision, in the 11th hour of this meeting, to extend his contract for another five years, despite all the concerns raised, and our dedicated teachers still without a contract, is insulting,” said the chair of the union’s negotiations committee Daniel Capuano.
Union mulls next steps
With contract negotiations between the Assabet Valley Regional Vocational School District and its teachers’ union currently in mediation, union members are mulling possible next steps.
Capuano is still hoping that negotiations, which have been taking place for 23 months, will soon conclude with a fair deal.
“The Assabet teachers would like to believe that the district has the best intentions of getting the teacher’s contract settled as soon as possible, one that is agreeable to both parties. However, halfway through the 23rd month of negotiations, our confidence is waning.
“We are not asking for a record-breaking contract, but rather a fair, frankly standard, cost-of-living adjustment. Our dedicated staff, who set out every day to give students the best possible learning environment, despite the fact that we’ve worked without a contract for the past year, deserve to have this settled immediately.”
On May 16, more than 30 members of the teachers’ union attended the School Committee meeting. They announced their vote of no confidence in Superintendent Ernest Houle, and requested a private meeting with the committee to discuss Houle’s job performance and the contract.
School Committee Chair Virginia Simms George said that because of the mediation, the committee was unable to meet with the union.
“The union is extremely disappointed that at their May 16 meeting, the School Committee seemingly ignored the 30+ teachers in attendance who were there to represent and voice concerns about the superintendent’s job performance, their vote of no confidence, and status of teacher contract negotiations,” said Capuano.
During the meeting Houle said that the “district has always bargained in good faith.” Both he and School Committee member Paul George said the union has not responded to requests for meetings.
The Advocate has contacted Houle and Simms George for comment.