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Teacher survey: Massena Central School staff dissatisfied with district

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MASSENA — The Massena Federation of Teachers wanted to share results of a survey showing widespread dissatisfaction among its members with the board of education at a meeting last week. The board said: “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Board Vice President Gregory C. Fregoe read a statement at the beginning of the Thursday meeting, indicating there were other venues to share their concerns.

“We welcome MFT comments,” Mr. Fregoe said. “If, however, there are comments about workplace issues, a matter of grievance, the terms or conditions of someone’s employment or complaints about employees of the district, please note that there are contractually defined forums for addressing these issues. The board of education will not hear these matters during public comment, now or in the future.”

The online survey organized by district psychologist Laura Gotsch was conducted April 1 to 11. A total of 134 employees responded to the survey; 214 had been invited to take part.

The survey contained 27 questions to gauge staff morale and district leadership. Of those who answered, 69 identified themselves as an elementary teacher, 49 said they were a high school teacher and 16 said they were a junior high staff member.

The majority of the responses indicated a general dissatisfaction in a number of areas, such as fair and equitable treatment by district administration, teacher and staff involvement in the decison-making process, the level and quality of communication between staff and administration on matters affecting students and staff, and disaffection with the lack of a “positive and supportive environment for all staff in this school district.”

Mr. Fregoe said the Board of Education would hear the teachers, but not in a public forum.

“We have carefully prescribed procedures for dealing with issues such as these. Our unions agreed to these procedures through their contracts. If anyone is interested in meaningfully addressing an employee concern, a Board of Education meeting is not the place. We had attempted to convey that information to (union President Chad L.) Simpson in an email prior to the meeting,” he said.

Rather, officials said, they have invited members of the union to present their information “in an appropriate forum.”

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