Tom Clay on Nov. 3, 2014

LETTER: School Committee Chairman Responds to Kreegan Comments

The following is a letter to the editor from Tom Clay, Chairman of the School Committee, in response to a letter sent to the Lowell Sun. To send your own letter to the editor here in the Template, e-mail us at [email protected]

Dear Editor,

The Westford School Committee is performing a detailed review of teacher pay competitiveness in Westford.  The full study is available online, as are the discussions we have had on this topic in open session.

Robert Creegan made the following statement in his letter published earlier this week:

“At the recent School Committee meeting it was voted 6-1 to form a working group to figure out how to pay teachers almost $3 million more annually because it is perceived that Westford teachers are underpaid. This conclusion is arrived at by comparing teacher salaries to average annual per capita and household income for town residents.”

For those that have not reviewed the studies or discussions mentioned above, we’d like to clarify that our competitive salary analysis was performed by comparing the salaries of teachers at each level of seniority with the salaries of teachers in comparable communities.  The comparable communities were selected using a variety of well-established methods, including comparable communities as identified by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and financial metrics like household income and per capita income.  We asked for and received significant guidance on structuring this competitiveness survey and believe that it uses correct methodology and reflects best practice.

Mr. Creegan also states: “Teachers in Westford should be fairly compensated relative to their fellow teachers in the marketplace.”  We are very pleased to agree with Mr. Creegan.  Relative to fellow teachers in the marketplace our teachers are paid meaningfully less than their peers as highlighted by our studies – in many cases a lifetime wage gap of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

We welcome community questions or inputs at any time.

Respectfully,

Tom Clay

Chairman