Ed techs getting 20% raise over three years

BAR HARBOR — Educational technicians – commonly known as ed techs – at Mount Desert Island High School and four of the district’s elementary schools will receive an aggregate salary increase of 20 percent over the next three years. 

The contract was worked out over a number of months of negotiations between representatives of the ed techs and the MDI Regional School System board. The full school board and the ed techs at each of the schools have now ratified the new contract. 

Up until now, all the schools followed the lead of Conners Emerson in Bar Harbor in setting salaries for ed techs and other support staff such as cooks and custodians. 

Last year, the ed techs at the high school and the elementary schools in Tremont, Trenton and Southwest Harbor joined together to negotiate salaries and benefits with the school system board. The bargaining unit in Southwest Harbor also included custodians and bus drivers.  

The support staff at Mount Desert Elementary chose not to join the larger bargaining unit, but the salary provisions of the new contract that the larger group has negotiated will apply to them as well.  

The ed techs and other support staff at Conners Emerson have their own, separate bargaining unit that has negotiated an agreement with the Bar Harbor School Committee. But school system board Chair Jessica Stewart said she and Superintendent Mike Zboray and Lilea Simis, chair of the Bar Harbor School Committee, have been working with the Conners Emerson bargaining unit to try to “synchronize” the contracts. 

In the first year of the new contract, a first-year Ed Tech I will make $17.95 an hour. An Ed Tech I with 10 years of experience will make $20.75. In the third year of the contract, the amounts go up to $20.95 for a starting Ed Tech I and $23.75 for an Ed Tech I with 10 years of experience. 

At a school board meeting in February, Stewart said the board had offered the ed techs a salary increase totaling 18.2 percent over three years. Also at that meeting, board members heard from ed techs, teachers and parents who advocated – quite passionately in some cases – for higher salaries for ed techs. 

“I think a lot of board members really took to heart the comments by ed techs about their challenges,” Stewart said. “So, in our bargaining, we attempted to respond to that. The board was very clear that they have a lot of respect for the essential work that the support staffs perform.” 

She said that under the new contract, ed techs will be paid for more of the days that school is not in session, such as during holiday breaks. 

“We heard from them that not having a paycheck during those times was very difficult for them,” Stewart said. 

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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