BAR HARBOR — Members of the Mount Desert Island Regional School System (MDIRSS) board and representatives of the school district’s teachers associations are trying to break an impasse over teacher pay in negotiating a new three-year contract.
The current contract expires Aug. 31.
The salaries of MDIRSS teachers at the highest pay level are currently in the top 69 percent of teacher pay statewide.
“The board and the teachers agree that that is not where we should be, that teacher pay needs to be increased,” said Kristie Losquadro, chairman of the MDIRSS board.
“The board is looking at having our teachers paid in the 85th to 90th percentile statewide. The teachers are aiming for about the 95th percentile.
“It’s not necessarily that the board disagrees with the end result that the teachers want,” she said. “But their timeline for getting there is a little more aggressive than what the board feels is practical for our communities right now.”
Losquadro said the two sides have now gone to mediation to try to reach an agreement. Each school in the district has its own teachers association. Daniel Horning, a teacher at Tremont Consolidated School, is the lead negotiator for the associations in the contract talks. He could not be reached for comment.
The MDIRSS board was scheduled to meet in executive session Wednesday evening to discuss the contract negotiations.
According to the Maine Education Association, the average statewide starting salary for teachers with a bachelor’s degree was $34,669 in 2019, the most recent year for which numbers were available. The average salary statewide for the highest-paid teachers with a master’s degree was $62,554.
The lowest starting salary for MDIRSS teachers was $36,236; the highest salary attainable was $64,534.
Statewide, the lowest starting salary, $30,000, was paid to teachers in nine school districts in Aroostook and Washington counties. The highest, $45,638, went to teachers in Wells-Ogunquit in York County.
The lowest top salary offered was $41,984 in the tiny Washington County town of Charlotte. The highest top salary attainable, $78,791, was in Falmouth in Cumberland County.