• Sat. May 14th, 2022

New contract recommended for Sanborn support staff | School News

NEWTON/KINGSTON — Sanborn Regional School District support staff worked with the school board and administration to have a new three-year contract unanimously recommended before voters on March 8 at the polls.

Sanborn’s support staff includes paraprofessionals who work with students who need extra help with their studies and/or behaviors. Many of these students have Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) that follow federal and state guidelines for special assistance in their school experience. The number of students who have IEPs at Sanborn is 20-21%, which is pretty consistent with state averages.

Having an IEP and the help of a paraprofessional means that the maximum amount of time possible for each student can be spent productively, either in class or in special sessions, depending on that student’s IEP. The presence of a paraprofessional helps the classroom teacher and other students as well, as the teacher is able to focus fully on the remaining 75% instead of being distracted by the particular need identified.

A new group of additional paraprofessionals are scheduled and hired to work with other students who have fallen behind in grade and are struggling academically. This is part of a new intervention program that is being implemented in Sanborn. The intervention program is designed to have both a math and English interventionist teacher in each of the district’s four schools, supported by two paraprofessional interventionists in each school. The intervention is funded by 2/3 of the savings from closing surplus facilities at the Old Middle School, with the other 1/3 reducing the school district’s annual operating budget.

The old para contract very generously offered benefits such as family insurance plans, while salaries for new hires were well below today’s competitive salaries, even at McDonald’s and Amazon. Due to low salaries, it has become very difficult to find and hire new paras. Their contributions to district education are crucial, Superintendent Thomas J. Ambrose has said many times, and not being able to hire them is a liability. The paras accepted a slight concession on their insurance coverage in trade for higher overall salaries.

The estimated cost for the first year of the contract is $159,890, representing an estimated tax impact of $0.10 to $0.11/$1,000. The cost for the second year is $96,809 and for the third year $94,544.

NKTA is an NH non-profit corporation, with a mission to educate for excellence in local government and schools at affordable and sustainable costs. For more information and to register for $20/family, go to www.NKTA.vpweb.com. Please see our Facebook page, Newton-Kingston Taxpayers Association.