June 10, 2014 at 11:53 PM
WESTFIELD, NJ - An agreement between the Westfield Board of Education and the Westfield Education Association on a three year contract passed at the BOE meeting held June 10.
“This is very important to us, the teachers are the heart of our district and 80 percent of our budget,” said board member Rosanne Kurstedt.
Negotiating between the board and the WEA began in September and there were seven meetings of both groups between then and May.
“The negotiation committee was busy to say the least,” said Kurstedt.
The contract that was passed included a two percent salary increase for each year of the contract, which is effective July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2017. Starting next year all WEA members must cover 10 percent of their health insurance and within three years that will increase to 20 percent.The third major addition to the contract was an additional professional day, bringing the total to two.
Of the seven board members present five voted yes and two, Mitchell Slater and Brandon Galligan, voted no.
Galligan stated that his reason for voting no had to do with a lack of time to fully review the contract as thoroughly as needed. Slater felt that there was greater need to fund such things as air conditioning in classrooms and the upkeep of school buildings than to put the money toward a guaranteed increase in salary each year for WEA members. (To read Slater's letter to the editor on the subject, click here.) Ann Cary, who voted yes, couldn’t disagree more.
“I believe there is no better use of our funding then for our teachers,” said Cary.