The West Deptford Board of Education (BOE) approved a new three-year contract for the West Deptford Education Association (WDEA), 8-0 with board member Thomas Lee abstaining, following a closed-session discussion Tuesday night at the middle school.
The contract now awaits a signature from the WDEA, which approved it by a measure of 223-10 earlier this month.
“This contract is fair for the teachers and the people of West Deptford,” Board of Education President Christopher Strano said.
“We cleaned up a lot of dead language about how we evaluate ourselves,” WDEA Chief Negotiator Joel Robinson said.
The contract covers teachers, secretaries, custodial, maintenance, grounds, and support staff in the district.
Some of the details:
- Teachers and faculty will receive raises of 2.5 percent after their first year, and 2.6 percent after each of the following two years;
- Coaching and extracurricular duty raises, frozen under the previous four-year contract, are 5 percent after the first year and 3 percent after each of the following two years;
- Teachers have the option to receive 24 paychecks over the course of the year, rather than the 20 paychecks between Sept. 15 and June 30 they currently receive. Pay remains the same, so teachers receiving 24 paychecks will receive smaller checks than those receiving 20;
- The district will no longer offer longevity pay for the district’s incoming teachers as of July 1, 2014;
- Healthcare contributions will fall in line with state statutes;
- The hourly rate for non-student contact duty, which includes any duties not included in the school day such as training, curriculum and writing, is down 10 percent from the student contact duty;
- For the first time, instructional aides receive a personal day;
- For the first time, custodial, maintenance and grounds workers have Christmas Eve off; and
- Two club advisors have been put on the extracurricular pay list. Advisors get paid for each time their club meets, as opposed to being a stipend position.
Strano predicts the elimination of teacher longevity pay, which is additional pay based on how long a teacher has been employed in the district, will ultimately save taxpayers between $175,000 and $250,000 a year.
Teachers currently eligible for longevity pay receive $1,000 after 15 years, $1,500 after 20 years, and $2,000 after 26 years.
According to Robinson, most teachers in the district are not yet receiving longevity pay.
Teachers and faculty will get paid $40 for non-student-contact pay, down from $44 previously. Contact pay remained at $44 this year, and will increase to $46 and $48 in the next two years.
Further details will become available once the contract is signed by the WDEA. It is retroactive, dating to July 1 of this year and running through June 30, 2016.
According to Strano, there have been no changes made to the contract in 10 years.
“It all boiled down to money,” Strano said. “We haven’t been able to afford to update the contract, until now.”
Both sides were able to resolve the
smaller issues in the early going during this negotiation process, but couldn’t agree on the bigger issues. The sides entered into negotiations with a state mediator.
“It’s basically salary that was holding us up,” Robinson said. "You can’t please everybody, and obviously everybody would like a little more money, but that’s how it is.”
“Both sides did a good job handling the negotiations,” Strano said. “There was a lot that we wanted to change that we were not able to do before.”
All unrepresented employees will receive reviews by Superintendent Kevin Kitchenman, Strano said. Raises are based on yearly reviews by administrators and approved by the Board of Education.
BOE negotiations with the WDAA, which represents administrators, including principals and vice principals, are ongoing.