Newfound schools reach deal with teachers
BRISTOL - The Newfound Area School Board has reached tentative agreement on a new one-year contract for district teachers that gives teachers one step up on their salary schedules.
Newfound Teachers had previously agreed to a "status quo" agreement for this school year, which meant giving up step increases that were not made up in the proposed agreement for 2013-14, school officials said.
The agreement increases the teachers' contributions towards health insurance premiums and calls for a switch to a health insurance plan with higher teacher co-payments for emergency room and doctor's office visits.
The new contract retains a salary scale with no adjustments to the scale for cost of living, but the teachers will all receive a single step on the salary scale.
Vincent Paul Migliore, chair of the school board, said given the challenging economic times, the new contract strikes a balance between modest salary increases and long-term cost savings from the health insurance changes.
The new health insurance premiums will increase at a slower rate than the plan currently offered by the district, which should bring anticipated substantial, long-term savings for the district and its taxpayers, Migliore said.
"Our teachers already do a great deal on their own on behalf of the families and students in our district," he said. "We appreciate they agreed with the change proposed to their health care benefits."
Deirdre Conway, president of teachers' association, said the teachers understand that the budget must be kept tight.
"We believe in our profession and commitment to the school district we serve," she said. "We agree this is the right thing to do and with the support of school board and the voters of the district."
The district's seven school board members unanimously approved the new contract, Migliore said.
During negotiations, the board worked "very hard with experienced representatives of the teachers' union," Migliore said.
"We strongly recommend passage of this agreement at the school district meeting in March," he said.
If the contract is passed by voters in Alexandria, Bridgewater, Bristol, Danbury, Groton, Hebron and New Hampton, the changes would not take effect until July 1.
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