NEWARK, NJ - The Newark Board of Education and the Newark Teachers Union each voted to approve a new five-year contract that provides for pay raises and a new evaluation system.

This is the district's first contract negotiation since the transitioning from state to local control. 

"History was made tonight," said Board President Josephine Garcia at a board meeting on August 27. "We look forward to continuing working with the Newark Teachers Union."

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The new contract was passed Monday by the union with about 93 percent casting their votes in favor, John M Abeigon, President & Director of Organization Newark Teachers Union, Local 481, said. 

With 887 total votes, the new contract abolishes a controversial “merit pay” system for a school system of about 2,700 teachers. 

“Today’s contract ratification vote was a huge success, and I want to thank all the members who ignored the media hype about gridlock and the MTV Video Music Awards and came out anyway to make their voices heard,”  Abeigon said. 

Highlights of the new contract, which goes through 2024 include: 

Pay increases: Members will receive an average of 3.1% percent increases each of the five years.

Equal advance to pay increases: Teachers already at the max will receive $1,215.

More pay for advanced degrees: Teachers earn $1,000 more for a Master's degree, $2,000 more for a Ph.D. Differences will double September 2020.

Increased planning time: This will give teachers more latitude to collaborate and create engaging curricula in a way that meets our students' individual needs.  

New evaluation system: The contract gives the union a substantive role in a new evaluation system for educators, Abeigon said.