SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — After over a year of negotiations, Springfield teachers have a new contract.
At a meeting Wednesday night, teachers approved the new contract, with more than a 75 percent majority voting in favor, according to Springfield Public Schools spokesperson Azell Cavaan.
The new contract includes salary increases, more professional development opportunities, and incentives for teachers for good attendance.
As part of the new deal, a new salary schedule has been put into place, which will results in salary increases teacher pay at every level. The amount of the increase will be determined based on an individual’s step and level.
“We’re just thrilled with this contract, which is fair and beneficial for both labor and management. I’m especially pleased about what the raise in pay will mean for our deserving teachers and their families and also about what the improved salaries will mean for our students – that the district can better compete to retain great teachers and attract new ones,” says Superintendent Daniel Warwick.
Tim Collins, President of the Springfield Education Association, adds, “There is still more work to be done, but overall I am pleased and I very much appreciate the efforts of the School Committee to increase our salary so that we can better compete with surrounding communities.”
If they are on the new salary scale, teachers will see an annual increase of $7,000 to $9,000. That scale includes a 1.5 percent increase in the second year of the contract.
Those teachers not on the scale will receive a 2.25 percent increase in the first year of the contract, and a 1.5 percent in the second year.
Some teachers who are on the new salary scale will see an annual increase of $7,000 to $9,000 and that salary scale includes a 1.5 percent increase in year two of the contract.
Teachers whose status does not place them on the scale will receive a 2.25 percent increase for the first year of the contract and 1.5 percent increase in the second year.
All teachers will receive a two percent increase in years three and four of the contract.
The contract includes a third salary scale for a smaller number of educators such as instructional leadership specialists, which provides a one-time payment increase of two percent in years one and two.
Teachers will also receive three more working days each academic year, which will be used for professional development. Under the current system, professional development sessions are added to the end of existing school days, requiring teachers to stay after school.
Also in the new contract, the number of sick days is lessened from 15 to 10 days. Those teachers with four or less sick days a year will get an additional five sick days at the end of the year.
Teachers will also be required to provide medical documentation for any absence greater than three days, compared to five days under previous contracts.
Instructional leadership specialists will be required to work 10 extra days per school year, providing them with greater opportunities to assess and critique teacher effectiveness, curriculum and student performance.
Warwick adds, “Classroom learning is stifled every time a student’s regular teacher is absent. We are pushing our students to be in school every day and as adults we must set our own bar high.”