SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- After having worked for almost a year without a contract, union leaders representing the teachers and the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education have reached a tentative agreement thanks to mediator.

Representatives of the SPFEA teachers union, SPFK12 Business Administrator Debbie Saridaki, the three BOE representatives (Nancy Bauer, Tanya Williams and Deb Brody), and Tim Averill, mediator from the Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC), burned the midnight oil and hammered out a deal at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

The teachers union now must present the details of the deal to its membership and have them ratify the agreement. Similarly, SPFK12 Schools Superintendant Dr. Margaret Hayes, will present the propsal to the members of the BOE who were not participants in the contract negotiation. Until both sides formally agree to the package, details will not be made public.

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"Unfortunately, we cannot release the details yet. We believe it is a good and fair contract for both the SPFEA members and the Board of Education," said teachers union rep Pat Boyle in an interview with TAPintoSPF. "Our membership is not yet privy to the details yet, and they will review it in the near future."

"The SPFEA believes we received a fair deal and look forward to putting 110% of our focus and energy back into our classrooms," Boyle added. "We thank everyone for their support and tireless efforts to assist us in reachin this agreement."

"The good news is that we have a tentative agreement," said Dr. Margaret Hayes, who stayed through the end of the negotiations and was back just a few hours later to present the school budget to the public on Wednesday morning. "We are pleased to mutually agree on a tentative settlement with the participation of mediator Tim Averill, who helped move the process along more quickly."

During the negotiations, teachers sought a 3% increase. Meanwhile the BOE pushed to increase the educators' contributions to their healthcare coverage.

The successful overnight negotiations resulted in the end of the Wednesday morning demonstrations by educatots outside schools in the district. TAPintoSPF contacted several of the teachers, however none of them were prepared to comment since the details of the agreement have not yet been formally presented to them.

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