BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Bridgewater-Raritan board of education approved memorandums of agreement to finalize the new contract agreement with the Bridgewater-Raritan Education Association at the April 26 meeting.

The B-REA had already ratified the agreement on April 15.

“Tonight’s actions formally conclude the negotiations,” board president Ann Marie Mead said. “I firmly believe the agreement is beneficial to all parties involved.”

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According to the agreement, members of the B-REA will receive a salary increase of 2.5 percent, 2.95 percent and 2.85 percent in consecutive years. There are also some changes to the health insurance plan and the contributions by employees.

One of the bigger changes, Mead said, is the addition of one instructional day to the school year.

“This item is the one we are most proud of,” she said. “With changing academic requirements and increases in days of testing, we believe every student needs and will benefit from more instructional time.”

The school year is being increased from 180 days to 181 days, as of the 2016-2017 year.

Finally, in the contract, the annual tuition reimbursements of $403,108 will no longer roll over for future years if they are not used. Unused funds will be returned to the district, Mead said.

Mead thanked the board negotiations committee, the B-REA and everyone involved in the negotiations.

Steve Beatty, president of the B-REA, echoed those sentiments.

“I want to thank the B-REA negotiating team and membership,” he said. “And I want to thank the board’s team for all the hard work and effort.”

The tentative agreement for the contract was reached in mid-January following months of negotiations after the previous contract expired in June 2015.