GEA announces our negotiating team for our upcoming contract talks.

posted Oct 12, 2017, 6:32 AM by GMHSLibrary   [ updated Oct 12, 2017, 6:36 AM ]

Dear GEA Members:

I would like to take a moment and introduce our Negotiating Team for our contract.  Representing Perley & Penn Brook will be Jess McPhail and Meg Johnson and representing the middle/high school will be Chris DiFranco and Mike Murphy.  We received all proposals forwarded to us and thank you for your input.  If you think of any more contractual proposals you would like the team to look at, please forward them, ASAP.  

Next week, Vice President Mike Murphy and I will be meeting with Charmaine Champagne, our MTA Representative to discuss and strategize for our upcoming meetings with School Committee.  Our first meeting with the School Committee will probably take place just before Thanksgiving break. 



Changing school start times on hold for now.

posted Jun 20, 2017, 5:39 AM by GMHSLibrary

2017 elections results

posted Jun 8, 2017, 4:55 AM by GMHSLibrary   [ updated Jun 8, 2017, 4:57 AM ]


Joe Pittella - 45

Ryan Corbett -3

Mike Murphy - 1

Sandra Schwarzkopf - 1


Mike Murphy - 50

Chris DiFranco - 1

Linsey Little -1 


Paul Swaim -53

Kristin Power -1


Corey Chenette - 51

Liz Marchetti - 1

Deb DiFruscio - 1

High School Building Rep 

Ryan Corbett - 26

Colleen Gibs  -1

Liz Marchetti - 1

Middle School Building Rep

Tim Larsen -18

Pat Corr -1 

Mariel Gearty -1

Linda Husak - 1

Perley/Penn Brook PrK-grade 2 Building Rep

Kristin Power -16

Heidi Begin - 1

Julie Homans - 1

Penn Brook Grade 3-6 Building Rep

Mike Walsh -20

Update May 15, 2017

posted May 15, 2017, 6:45 AM by GMHSLibrary

Our annual GEA meeting is scheduled to be on Wednesday, May 31st beginning promptly at 3:15 PM in the Penn Brook Library.  If any member has a by-law proposal for membership to vote on, please forward it to me no later than Friday, May 19th.  Any by-law proposal sent to me will be forwarded to membership no later than Wednesday, May 24th.  

Also, any member who is interested in running for a GEA position and would like their name added to the GEA Election ballot, please forward your name to me, ASAP.  Also, nominations can be made on the floor on May 31st.  All positions are elected on a year to year basis.  The following GEA positions are:

Penn Brook Building Representative:pre-k- Grade 2
Penn Brook Building Representative Grade 3-6
Middle School Building Representative
High School Building Representative
Vice President

Our GEA Elections will be held on Wednesday, June 7th.

Upcoming important dates

posted Apr 28, 2017, 4:58 AM by GMHSLibrary   [ updated May 15, 2017, 6:43 AM ]

Dear Colleagues:

Here are some upcoming important dates to remember.

MAY 20TH- Rally for public education-  The MTA is sponsoring a public education rally on the Boston Common from 3-5 pm.  Members are encouraged to go and show your support for our profession.  I hope you will consider joining the rally.

MAY 31ST- Our annual GEA Meeting will be at Penn Brook Library beginning at 3:15 PM.  At our annual meeting we will have a Treasurer update, discuss potential by-law changes and lay out the GEA elections.  



Union Update, April 6th, 2017

posted Apr 6, 2017, 12:14 PM by GMHSLibrary

Dear Colleagues:

A few weeks ago, the Board of Selectmen decided to stick with MIAA, our current health care provider for the foreseeable future.  The town finally did the leg work on receiving health care comparisons and MIAA came in with only a 4 % increase.  Early projections had MIAA coming in around 8-10 % increases.  The comparisons that the town were able to gather together were all coming in substantially higher.  Health care continues to be a hot topic and the GEA is fully committed to making sure that the town is seeking the best and least costly coverage for our members.  I want to thank member Ryan Corbett and MTA Representative, Ben Roy for attending.

I had an opportunity to speak with both School Committee Chairperson Barbie Linares and Superintendent Jacobs after the Start School Later meeting held this past Tuesday.  They both reiterated to me that they heard membership loud and clear at the meeting, as well as at the staff meetings and thanked all members who actively participated in the discussions.  A final decision will be made in the next two months and the GEA will inform membership as soon as a decision is made.

I reached out to Senator Tarr's office to extend an invitation to our state representative and gauge the interest level of Senator Tarr coming to Georgetown and to speak to members about education funding and the state of education funding, both here in Georgetown and the Commonwealth.  Senator Tarr has agreed to join us in a conversation.  On May 1st beginning at 3:15 PM in the Penn Brook Library, Senator Tarr will be HERE to meet the Georgetown staff and discuss funding issue.  I urge all members to come to this meeting to meet and discuss this serious issue.  It is not often that we get the ability to discuss these issues with policy makers and this is a golden opportunity.

On April 26th, I will be attending an MTA sponsored meeting at the Distance Learning Center in Reading from 4-6 PM.  The meeting will be centered around the issue of attacks on unions and protecting both the agency fee component of our union and attacks on the pension system of teachers.  Like the fight against Question 2 and the extension of charter school in Massachusetts, I am certain that MTA will be looking for all members to actively campaign through phone banking or sending emails to our representatives rallying behind these important issues that affect all of us.

Finally, please hold May 31st as a tentative date for our annual GEA Meeting.  At this meeting, we will discuss any bylaw changes, updates and discuss the GEA elections.  As the date gets closer, I will update membership and confirm the place, date and time.


Start school later and elementary students

posted Mar 8, 2017, 7:55 AM by GMHSLibrary

Dear Colleagues:

Below is part of an extended email from School Committee Chairperson, Barbie Linares.  Some elementary teachers asked about the impact on starting school later regarding the elementary students.  

"In my county, elementary schools begin at 9 and end at 3:30pm. Elementary children need 10-12 hours of sleep, and can fall asleep naturally near 8pm and rise well rested near 7a.m. They are awake and their brains and bodies are functioning between 7am and 8pm.  There are no detrimental effects on the brains or bodies of elementary school children beginning school at 9 or 9:15 and ending at 3:30 or 4p.m.  These hours match their natural circadian rhythms.  The concern for elementary students, as is the concern for all students, is safe bus routes in the daylight and healthy school hours. A school day from 9:15 to 3:10 is safe and healthy for elementary students."

Lynn M. Keefe, MD

Dr. Keefe serves as the Start School Later Health Policy Director.

The next public forum for the Start School Later initiative is on April 4th beginning at 6:30 PM. in the Middle/high school Auditorium.  This will be the last time for members to voice their opinion for or against.  Regardless of your opinion, please be ready to speak and support your choice with facts and data.  



Union update - March 1, 2017

posted Mar 1, 2017, 5:24 AM by GMHSLibrary

Dear Colleagues:

Here is the link to Monday night's School Committee public forum meeting about our school budget that Vice President Mike Murphy and I spoke at in favor of the budget proposal brought forth to the committee by Superintendent Jacobs.

Also, GESA members spoke also at the meeting.

Also,  the school calendar was also discussed and accepted for next school year.  The School Committee voted to start school before Labor Day for school year 2017.  I am not sure yet when opening day for new hires, first day for all staff and first day for students will be, but my guess is Monday, August 28th will be the first day school for all staff.  As soon as something is finalized I will let you know.  Also, Yom Kippur, Friday September 29th will now be a 1/2 day for all students and staff.

Joe Pittella

Union Update - February 20, 2017

posted Feb 20, 2017, 6:02 AM by GMHSLibrary   [ updated Feb 20, 2017, 6:06 AM ]

Dear Colleagues:

Name me a better way to spend your 1st day back from February break than to go to a school committee public forum budget meeting....YOU CAN'T!  I will be speaking in support of Superintendent Jacob's budget proposal increase at the meeting slated to begin at 6:30 PM at Georgetown Town Hall.  It would be great if you could make it as well to show support.  Don't sit back and think that someone else will represent.  We all need to represent.  I hope you will consider joining me.

Once the school committee decides on the budget increase sometime in March, the GEA will be participating in an email campaign to each of the town selectmen.  We will be dividing up membership into different groups to send emails to all selectmen requesting that they support the school committee's budget proposal.  The GEA is not interested in sending a form letter to all selectmen that can easily be discarded.  A more personal touch is needed and we are hopeful that all members will inform the selectmen why this budget increase is important and how this increase will help the schools move forward.  The email can be as short as long as you want it to be. More information will be coming forward.  

Also, there are many colleagues that have not completed their online ethic or conflict of interest training.  Superintendent Jacobs stated in her grapevine updates that she is considering have members go to her office and complete this training in order to obtain their March 3rd checks.  I vocalized my disagreement with this approach to Superintendent Jacob's, both through email and face to face.  Regardless of whether this would actually occur is not this issue.  What is the issue is that members have had months to complete this and many have still not.  Please take a few moments and get this done to avoid any conflict.  It literally takes a few moments and needs to get done.  


Here are the links. 

Civil Rights:


Budget Update - January 31, 2017

posted Jan 31, 2017, 1:55 PM by GMHSLibrary   [ updated Jan 31, 2017, 1:58 PM ]

Dear Colleagues:

I have spoken to Superintendent Jacobs about the latest budget proposal process over the weekend.  The School Committee is having a public hearing about the budget proposal on Thursday, February 9th beginning at 7:15 PM in town hall on the 3rd floor.  I will be speaking at that meeting and all are welcome to attend.  My statement will be brief, but it would show great unity if we could fill that room with as many teachers as possible.  I know we all have busy schedules, but please try to clear them for that night and consider joining me to show support for the budget increase that is being requested.

Secondly, some members have asked for a script to use when emailing their state representatives about properly funding the FBRC-Foundation Budget Review Commission:  Once you find your legislature using the link below, cut and paste the following script, if you want.

Cut and paste the following:

Dear State Representative:

I am an educator in Georgetown, Massachusetts and am asking that you fully support and fund the FBRC.  The formula for funding Chapter 70 monies allotted to each district has not been updated since implementation over two decades ago.  Our students deserve and need this funding to move forward in the 21st century.

Thank You

(Your Name)

Finally, as mentioned above, the first public hearing on the school budget is Thursday, February 9th, however the School Committee will not be voting to adopt any budget proposal until March 9th.  Until we see what percentage increase the School Committee agrees upon to forward to the Finance Committee and the Selectmen for approval, we can then begin emailing the Selectmen requesting them to approve the increase.  

As always, we will update membership with any new news immediately.



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