Ridgewood Teachers Receive New Contract [Poll]
Teachers receiving compounded 2.3 percent salary raise through 2014-2015 school year, paying more into health care benefits.
Teachers can smile widely in classrooms across Ridgewood schools on Thursday. After a two-year contract struggle, the Ridgewood school board on Thursday morning voted unanimously to agree to a new three-year deal with members of the Ridgewood Education Association (REA).
“We feel the overall cost of these settlements appropriately balances the need to fairly compensate our excellent staff with our ongoing obligation to the community to be fiscally responsible," board president Sheila Brogan said in a written statement. “The Board is pleased that the parties were able to reach these new agreements and that we have achieved a fair and reasonable settlement.”
According to the terms of the deal, which runs through June 30, 2015, teachers will see annual raises of 2.75 percent from the current 2012-2013 school year through the 2014-2015.
A separate agreement provides teachers a retroactive 1 percent increase for the 2011-2012 school year, a year in which the district did not budget a salary increase to its educators.
In all, the compounded salary across the length of the contract works out to an annual 2.3 percent raise, according to the district. It's a figure that's right in line with what other districts have recently negotiated with their teaching staffs. Glen Rock teachers also received annual 2.3 percent salary increases as part of their new deal.
Ridgewood teachers may be receiving salary increases in line with what counterparts in other towns are garnering, but they also gave back considerably in the way of health insurance.
The district will be foregoing its private Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance plan and moving its teachers into the state's School Employee Health Benefits Program (SEHBP), which will lower premiums.
According to the district, employee contributions into their health benefits should quadruple by 2014-2015 to as much as $2 million. By then, teachers will contribute between 12 and 35 percent of their premium costs, depending on salary and type of coverage. Teachers in Ridgewood have been paying 5 percent of premiums.
The previous teacher contract expired in summer of 2011.
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