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Ridgewood Teachers, Board Agree on New Contract

Agreement between union and school board could be finalized as early as Sept. 10.

After a , Ridgewood teachers may have a new contract deal hammered out in early September, according to multiple sources.

The school board's negotiating committee, consisting of , has reached a memorandum of agreement with the chief contract negotiators of the Ridgewood Education Association (REA), both sides acknowledged Wednesday.

"We are currently finalizing the details of the salary guides," Laura Grasso, chief negotiator for the REA told Patch. "Once these are finished the Association will ratify the contract."

The vote – expected to pass, multiple sources said – could happen in the next week.

"If we can get it done this week, we possibly may ratify upon our return to work on Tuesday [Sept. 4]," Grasso said. "If not, we will pick a date shortly following our return."

A school board vote cementing the terms of a contract could come as early as Sept. 10, the school board's next meeting.

Neither side would broach the terms of a confidentiality agreement to discuss details of the contract.

If approved, the written contract would run three years, the longest allowed by the state.

"I'm looking forward to settling this and moving onto the new school year with a fresh relationship with the teachers so we can begin the healing process," school board member Jim Morgan said Wednesday.

The previous teacher contract expired in June of 2011, though negotiations for a new deal began months prior. Officials would not detail how the upcoming contract would impact to the 2011-2012 school year, in which the teachers worked under the terms of the expired contract.

Signs of a fraying relationship came when in January. The educators then marched on 49 Cottage Pl. in April, demanding the board show more "respect" to the teachers.

The board had not budgeted a salary increase for the teachers in the 2011-2012 school year, while state mandates forced teachers to pay much more into their health insurance. In the current school year, teachers were budgeted a 2 percent raise.

This article was last updated at 12:53 p.m. Wednesday. 

Matt September 02, 2012 at 11:15 AM
The teachers of Ridgewood (and Bergen in generaly) earn far more than similar or better performing districts in other parts of the country with similar COL. But sure, throw more money at them.
KenC September 02, 2012 at 11:35 AM
"The teachers of Ridgewood (and Bergen in generaly) earn far more than similar or better performing districts in other parts of the country with similar COL." Matt, what are the names of these other districts? Just curious.
Ridgewood Mom September 02, 2012 at 01:40 PM
As if getting a lower number ranking in a New Jersey magazine means placing further behind in some sort of race, and deserving of some sort of lesser prize. Absurd. If the quality of Ridgewood's schools is dropping, which it is not, then it does not make sense to cut funding for them. Where funding does not correlate to performance, performance can not be adjusted by adjusting funding. But where funding does correlate to performance, the sensible action would be to increase funding in order to increase performance.
Taxpayer September 03, 2012 at 01:53 PM
NJ Monthly has statistical data to support their rankings...Ridgewood HS continues to drop in the ratings. We need to put our pride aside and face the facts. The quality of Ridgewood schools does appear to be dropping. I don't think funding levels are what need to be adjusted. Perhaps teachers, admininstrators and superintendant need to be adjusted.
Ridgewood Mom September 03, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Interesting. So Ridgewood's more experienced teachers, who were doing a great job before Ridgewood's NJ Monthly ranking began "dropping" (measured by prior rankings that were numerically higher), need to be replaced by new teachers who do not have any experience. ?

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