Teachers Get 1% Raises for 3 Years
By Peter Jasinski
LEOMINSTER -- Contracts for the new school year will ensure raises for hundreds of district employees following the end of successful negotiations between union and school officials.
The contract for Leominster’s teachers’ union, which has roughly 500 members, ensures 1-percent salary raises every year for the next three years. This will represent $440,000 in the budget for this year, a little over $400,000 of which will go toward salaries. Roughly $400,000 in salary increases will also have to be budgeted for the following two fiscal years.
“Obviously, I think we would have liked to have seen more for a salary increase based on what’s happening around us and in districts similar to ours, but we also know, given the current situation in Leominster, that what they gave us was the best we could get,” said union president Jenn Kifer.
School Committee members voted unanimously in favor of the new contract Monday night.
“The biggest thing to announce is there was a lot of hard work on both negotiating sides and people really came together to come up with what was best,” said School Committee Chairwoman Eileen Griffin.
Kifer said the majority of the union’s members were in favor of the new contract’s terms. While some had hopes for a larger raise, she said most expected limitations due to last year’s budget season.
“Given the amount of layoffs we had and the $5 million deficit, going into negotiations on the heals of that, they knew what to expect,” she said, referring to the new contract as a “good faith effort.”
“The general consensus is that, with all that we went through and the rebuilding we’re doing now, this was the fairest they could offer,” she said.
The teachers’ union will also be receiving $7,500 in additional professional development funding, $9,000 in additional stipends for new teacher mentors, and $20,000 for low sick leave utilization stipends.
Committee members also voted unanimously Monday night in favor of the new contracts for the district’s secretaries and clerks union, which represents about $16,000 in this school year’s budget.
Like the teachers’ union, Leominster’s secretaries and clerks will also be getting three years of 1-percent salary raises, the first of which totals $13,500 that will be divided among all employees.
“They were very amenable and they worked with us, recognizing where we’re at as a district,” said Superintendent Paula Deacon. “They wanted what was best for the city.”
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