MADISON, NJ - The Madison Board of Education voted on Tuesday, January 21 to approve a new contract with the Madison Education Association.
The MEA membership, which includes teachers, teacher assistants and secretaries, previously voted to accept the agreement, said school officials. The three-year agreement, which covers the period from July 1, 2019 until June 30, 2022, brings closure to a negotiations process that began in March 2019, they said.
"On behalf of the staff of the Madison public schools, the MEA negotiations team is pleased to have ratified this agreement with the Board of Education," said Matt Millichap, chair of the MEA's negotiations committee. "Working under an expired contract can create anxiety and unrest, so we appreciate the patience of our members as we worked through the process. Our team and the Board's, thoroughly looked for common ground and carefully considered various options, a process which takes time, but we were confident it would ultimately lead to a settlement."
According to a press release from the Board of Education, the Madison School District continues to focus on expanding programs through the district and improving academic excellence at every level.
"Given tight budget constraints, we have created a contract that allows staff to keep their current health care plans, provides a 2.9% increase for teachers over the course of the next 2 years and a 3.0% increase in the third year of the contact, increases the per-hour rate of teachers who work after hours and provides improved stipends for athletic coaches and non-athletic extracurricular activities and works to even out some of the existing variations in the stipend amounts", the release stated.
"This contract is the outcome of nearly a year of work in partnership between the MEA and the Madison Board of Education," said Heather Reddy, Board president and member of the negotiating committee. "We are tremendously grateful for the focus and thoughtfulness of the MEA's leadership as we built a successor agreement that balances the needs of both the district and the MEA."
"Madison Public Schools' teachers and staff are our district's most valuable resource, and we believe that this contract demonstrates our commitment to them," Reddy continued. "We would also like to note that Leslie Lajewski, who served as Board President in 2018 and 2019, was the chair for the negotiating committee for this contract and we send our sincerest thanks for the many hours of work and focus she put into this effort."