New deal nearing ratification in WNESU
WESTMINSTER -- A tentative agreement reached between the Windham Northeast Supervisory Union and the local teachers' union includes an increase in pay for each of the next three years.
The collective bargaining agreement -- already signed by the Rockingham, Westminster and Athens-Grafton school boards -- permits step increases for educators not yet at the top tier (step 17), as well as hikes in salary every year. The WNESU board was expected to ratify the contract Wednesday night, while the Bellows Falls Union High School board has the matter on its agenda for Monday night. The contract will be finalized once the WNESU and BFUHS boards approve the agreement.
WNESU School Superintendent Chris Kibbe told the Reformer that in addition to step increases the agreement includes 1 percent salary bumps in the first year for teachers at step 17, 1.5 percent spikes for all teachers the second year and another 1 percent jump across the board the third year. The Rockingham School Board ratified the agreement Monday, while the Westminster School Board gave its approval on Tuesday.
Rockingham School Board Chairman James "Jiggs" McAuliffe said the WNESU's negotiating group reached an agreement about three weeks ago and the union voted within the past week to ratify it. He said the contract period will run retroactively from July 1, 2013, through the end of the 2016 school year. McAuliffe also said the previous teachers' contract did not include step increases.
There also is the matter of a contract with the supervisory union's support staff (which includes all school employees that are not teachers). McAuliffe told the Reformer a tentative agreement, which also includes step and salary increases, has been reached, but has not been ratified by all necessary boards. He mentioned the Athens-Grafton School Board is not involved with the support staff contract.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.
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