New Brunswick BOE and Teachers’ Union Agree to New Contract, Pay Raises

Credits: New Brunswick Public Schools

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Teachers and support staff represented by the New Brunswick Education Association are in line to receive a 3 percent pay increase that is retroactive to July, 2016.

After going to mediation, the New Brunswick Board of Education and the union recently reached an agreement covering staffers’ salaries, responsibilities and more for the current school year through June 2019. The board approved the three-year contract last week during its monthly meeting.

“We achieved our goal of paying them fairly and equal to surrounding districts in the county and state while minimizing the impact on the taxpayers of New Brunswick,” Richard Jannarone, the business administrator for the city’s public school district, told TAPinto New Brunswick.

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In addition to the 3 percent raise this year, the agreement provides for a 2.75 percent raise come next school year and a 2.5 percent raise in the 2018-19 school year, according to documents provided by the district.

A new teacher with a bachelor’s degree earned $52,407 per year under the terms of the expired contract. The new contract raises that number to $53,034 in both the current and upcoming school years. By July 2018, the annual pay for a similar employee will rise to $53,341.

An educator with a doctorate degree at the highest salary step would have earned $92,556 through the expired contract. By July 2018, that individual would earn $95,275.

The new salary guide provides for varying pay increases for the teachers, mentors, paraprofessionals, maintenance staffers, secretaries and other employees represented by the union. Exactly how much each of a raise each individual stands to get depends on their education and length of time in the district.

Come the 2018-19 school year, stipends paid to staffers for overseeing extracurriculars, like sports or jazz band, will increase by 2.5 percent, according to the agreement. Hourly rates for similar activities will increase by $1 for certificated employees and 50 cents for others.

Nancy Coppola, the union’s president, told TAPinto New Brunswick that negotiators for each side entered one mediation meeting that spanned more than 12 hours, ending shortly after 4 a.m.

“The NBEA thinks it is a fair contract,” she said. “It addresses the needs of members and administration.”

Elementary school teachers can no longer leave the school when students do, according to district documents. In exchange for staying an extra 10 minutes per day, they may attend one fewer required meeting each month.

The contract also cut back the amount of vacation time available to new building and maintenance employees and secretaries. They must also work in New Brunswick longer to hit certain vacation benchmarks, according to the documents.

Negotiators shored up several portions of the contract that governs teacher observations.

Those on “corrective action plans” must undergo at least three observations by their superiors, as opposed to four. That move followed a change in state law.

New Brunswick’s school board also inked a deal with the New Brunswick Cafeteria Workers’ Association.

Upon its approval last week, the agreement provides for a 4.04 percent raise retroactive to July 2016. Similar pay increases are in place for each school year through June 2019.

When this deal expires, there will “not be any advancement on the salary guide,” according to the district.

New kitchen workers will continue to receive $10.77 per hour this year. That number will rise to $11.21 in the 2018-19 school year. But their salary guide, which had climbed 20 steps up to $18.22 per hour for senior workers, will be capped at 13 steps, or $16.15 per hour.

The contract calls for longevity payments to increase 4 percent per year.

“We feel the contract settlements are fair settlements that take into account the taxpayers of New Brunswick and the hard work that all of the staff of New Brunswick Schools put in every day to educate the children,” Jannarone said.

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