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Scarborough teachers rally for new contracts

Scarborough teachers have been working without a contract since Aug. 31. There was no public comment on the contacts allowed during the board of education meeting

SCARBOROUGH, Maine — Teachers in Scarborough let their voices be heard Thursday night ahead of the town's board of education meeting. Members of the teachers' union, the Scarborough Education Association, are hoping the board will meet its contract requests and end the negotiation process. Teachers in Scarborough have been working without a contract since August 31, 2019. 

Some of the issues the Scarborough Education Association is fighting for in a new contract are to provide adequate time for teachers to improve their practice, to create better lessons for their students, and meet the ever-increasing demands of the profession.

Also, salaries that are better aligned with districts like Scarborough. SEA believes in order to adequately attract and retain teachers in Scarborough, the Board needs to evaluate salaries based on similar communities with a similar tax base, as it has done in the past.

Lastly, the SEA has asked for there to be an explicit Complaints and Investigations process that is clear, fair, and equitable.

RELATED: Scarborough teachers attract national attention on stalled contract talks

Roughly 100 protesters gathered outside of the Scarborough Town Hall for the rally ahead of the school board meeting. 

State Representative Ben Collings of Portland was on hand, along with, Maine Education Association President Grace Leavitt, and Sheila Healy, the labor outreach director for the Bernie Sanders campaign in New England.

"We just need to keep reinforcing the importance of teacher voice," 5th grade teacher and president of the Scarborough Education Association Krystal Ash-Cuthbert said. 

At the start of the meeting, board of education chair Leanne Kazilionis told the crowd that there would not be any public comment on the contract dispute. Both the school board and members of the SEA have spoken with a fact-finding committee to try and find a solution to end the contract negotiations. 

Protesters left the room after not being allowed public comment. Many teachers were disappointing in the lack of discussion. 

"I wish that they could have paused, and realized at this moment in time they have a very important job, to serve their community," teacher Maureen Kirsch said. 

Both parties expect to hear shortly the results of the fact-finding committee. It's unclear when a contract will be reached soon. 

RELATED: Scarborough teachers attract national attention on stalled contract talks

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