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Conservationists tout Indiana's old mines and brownfields to develop renewable energy; Louisiana becomes 1st state to require the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools; Black Hills Visitor Center under new joint tribal, federal oversight; Judge set to rule on massive MT logging project.

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Former President Donald Trump says he loves Milwaukee, civil rights groups reject designated protest zones for the RNC convention and a New York Equal Rights Amendment is restored to the November ballot.

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Rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town, prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands and a Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival.

Community college faculty in MA demand contract funding

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Monday, November 13, 2023   

The union representing faculty and staff at Massachusetts's 15 community colleges are demanding a pay raise.

They're asking the state legislature to fund ratified contracts that include pay raises going back to 2021, and to ensure members receive the same salary increases offered to other teachers' unions at UMass and state university campuses.

Massachusetts Community College Council (MCCC) Union President Claudine Barnes said low pay affects a community college's ability to recruit and retain quality educators.

"If the state really believes in Massachusetts as the 'education state,'" said Barnes, "they need to adequately fund these positions."

Barnes said the state's community colleges serve 50% of students pursuing higher education in Massachusetts, and yet only receive 25% of the state's higher-ed budget.

MCCC members have circulated a petition with more than five thousand signatures demanding Gov. Maura Healy offer members an 8% pay increase - the same as other higher-ed union workers. Healy has offered a 2% raise.

Barnes said members are concerned there won't be enough staff to support the new MassReconnet program, which offers free community college to people 25 and older without a college degree.

"Because if we don't have the advising staff to help these students get through college, if we don't have the faculty to teach these courses, it won't work," said Barnes. "We're setting students up for failure."

Barnes said the MCCC contract and others have been caught up in the supplement budget process.

But she said she's hoping lawmakers and the governor can get raises to her members before the holidays - or as she put it, before anyone else decides to leave for higher pay elsewhere.




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