Friday, June 25, 2004
CCHS teachers, RSC agree on contract
The Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee (RSC) voted on Tuesday, June 22 to ratify two new teacher contacts. According to Andrei Joseph, president of the Concord-Carlisle Teacher's Association (CCTA), the union had ratified the contracts the previous evening. Two contracts were necessary due to the expiration of the previous contract a year ago, and the state limitation of no more than three years per contract.
The first contract is for one year, covering the previous school year since the previous contract expired on July 1, 2003. It gives a 2.5% cost of living increase to the teachers in all steps and all scales, and a 2% increase in stipends for sports and other co-curricular responsibilities, retroactive to July 2003.
The second contract is for three years, from 2004 to 2007. It allows for cost-of-living salary increases of 2.5% the first and second years, and an increase of 3.75% the third year. Stipends will increase 2% for the first two years, and 3% the third year.
In 2002-2003, under the preceding contract, cost-of-living increases were 3%.
Most teachers, who have not yet reached the top of their pay scale, also receive an annual "step increment" for an additional year of teaching experience. In 2002-03, step increments represented an additional 4%. These increments remain the same in the new contracts. According to RSC member Michael Fitzgerald, 65 to 70% of full-time teachers at CCHS are eligible for increases. Faculty are also additionally compensated for serving as department chair and mentoring.
The teachers retain the 90:1 student:teacher ratio, and the maximum of four classes, which represents a concession from the School Committee that fought to increase these limits.
Copies of the new contracts will not available for several weeks, as they have not been officially drafted. At this time, said Fitzgerald, all of the provisions are summarized in a series of memos.
"Arduous negotiation process"
"This brings to a close a rather arduous negotiation process," commented Regional School Committee chair Pat Sinnott. "Our differences were in part based on the perspective of costs," he continued, versus the teachers' desire to keep the class sizes and working conditions similar.
One item the CCTA conceded, he said, was the language describing the awarding of sabbaticals which, instead of "shall be allowed," now "may be allowed." He said the salary increases were a concession on both sides. In addition, Joseph continued, according to the new contract, teachers who apply by October 2004 are eligible for early retirement no later than 2009. This is a concession, he said, as the previous contract did not have an early retirement time limit.
Looking to the future
Speaking about future goals, Joseph said, "We need to rebuild our relationship" with the School Committee.
"We appreciate the vote," he said. "Thank you. We look forward to an amiable process in the future."
Sinnott, joking about the free time he is gaining now that negotiations are finished, remarked "I'm going to start a new exercise program."
© 2004 The