Board of Ed, Teachers Agree On New Contract
At a special meeting Thursday, the Board of Education voted to ratify a Memorandum of Agreement between negotiating teams of the board and the Fair Lawn Education Association
Five-hundred and eighty-one days.
That's how long it took from the time the contract between district teachers and the board of education expired on June 30, 2010 until the sides officially agreed on a new contract Thursday night.
Over that 19-month span, Middle East dictators have been toppled, Osama bin Laden has been killed and the Iraq War has officially ended.
The board of education voted unanimously with one abstention Thursday night to ratify and approve a Memorandum of Agreement from Dec. 1 -- the only item on the one-page meeting agenda.
Per the agreement, teachers and other district employees will move from a private health care plan to the State Health Benefits Program in July.
Teachers, who had not received a pay raise since their contract expired in 2010, will get a retroactive pay increase of 2.5 percent for the 2010-2011 school year, a 2.2 percent pay increase for the 2011-2012 school year and a 2.7 percent pay increase for the 2012-2013 school year, board president Michael Rosenberg said.
In return, the board has brokered an arrangement whereby elementary school teachers will provide students an additional 25 minutes of instructional time per week, at the expense of a shorter lunch and prep period.
Throughout the negotiation process, both the board and the union remained mum on the cause of the prolonged discussions. However, a contentious board meeting in October where teachers turned out in mass to protest the pace of negotiations revealed that a disagreement over the cost of health care premiums may have been a sticking point.
Just over a month after the union took its public stand, its negotiating team reached a tentative contract agreement with the Board of Education.
The process stalled for two months as teachers worked out salary tables, until Jan. 26 when the union ratified the Memorandum of Agreement.
Once it was ratified by the teachers, its final hurdle was Thursday's passage by the board.
With the memorandum ratified, the contract must now be written up and signed for it to officially go into effect.