Harwich school staff outraged, Town wants $7M police station

School Employees Outraged Over Loss Of Summer Health Benefits
By William F. Galvin, ChronicleChronicle

HARWICH --- Approximately 40 school employees could lose their health benefits during the summer months, requiring them to make 100 percent of the July and August payments, if changes in their contract are not approved. The school committee is scheduled to begin impact bargaining this week.

Many of those employees have expressed outrage at the change in posture by the town and the absence of communication from officials, having learned about this status in newspaper stories.

Lisa Stroker, a library assistant at the elementary school, stood before the school committee last Wednesday to protest decisions by the town and the way town officials have handled notification.

“It’s been poorly handled by the town, illegally handled by the town,” Stroker said, “Could you have treated anybody any worse?”

Several other employees in jeopardy of losing benefits expressed outrage over the handling of this situation and said they were not there as much for the pay as for the benefits and personal satisfaction they get from working with the students. They emphasized the entire staff is necessary for the schools to run properly... Read the rest of this Chronicle story here, and comment below.

Selectmen Urged To Get Moving On $7M Police Station Project

Harwich PDBy William F. Galvin, Chronicle

HARWICH --- Faced with the potential for three major capital projects over the next seven years, the capital outlay committee is urging selectmen to take the bull by the horns and get moving on a new police station construction project.

“Really what we’re facing now is major projects coming up all at once,” capital outlay committee member Dana DeCosta told selectmen Monday night. “In the seven-year plan there are three major projects with a significant amount of borrowing.”

The capital outlay committee met with selectmen as called for in the town charter to discuss the latest version of the capital plan, which has been presented to the board for inclusion in the annual town meeting. The document contains several changes to the plan approved last May and adds a seventh year, FY2013.

The seventh year identified $15 million for new high school construction. DeCosta made it clear that project could cost as much as $35 million, but the town expects state school building assistance to absorb half the cost.

“Since the elementary school renovation was done a lot has been done to pare down the debt,” DeCosta said. “We’ve had a couple of years off. If we start picking up projects, things are going to go south quickly.”

The plan calls for a $7 million police station, and a high school construction project. DeCosta said that could cost between $20 million and $35 million, with school building assistance reducing the impact to $15 million... Read the rest of this Chronicle story here, and comment below.

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