The Cedar Grove Board of Education finalized and approved a contract with the district's teacher's union during its public meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 27.
Since June 2011 when the contracts expired, the board of education had been involved in negotiations with the Cedar Grove Education Association, which represents the district's teachers, therapists, counselors, therapists, psychologists and social workers.
The board and the teacher's union have been finalizing the details since reaching a tentative agreement in October. Officials came to terms on the deal after negotiating for a year - including part of that time under the direction of a mediator.
“I appreciate the teachers work with the board in these difficult economic times,” said Board of Education President Frank Mandala. “It may have taken a little longer to get to this point, but it was a win-win for both sides.”
Based on the three-year agreement, teachers will see a salary increase of 1.8 percent for the first year, 1.8 for the second and 1.9 percent for the third, he said.
Since the contract expired in 2011 the contracts are retroactive from 2011 and will run through the 2013-2014 school year, said Mandala.
“I think this contract is fair and comparable to what's out there right now,” said Cedar Grove Education Association President Christopher Cannella. “The teachers understand what the situation is out there right now. The economy has not been good and we are recovering slowly.”
“There are many things beyond our control that have hindered the negotiations, but we have reached a deal that accomplished a couple of our goals,” he said.
Although an agreement has been reached, the teachers are already entering the third year of their contract and negotiations will need to start all over again next fall.
“Our goal is always to get something that is fair and equitable for our members," Cannella said, adding, "we know what's out there. We are not going to be unreasonable, but want to be treated fairly,” said Cannella.
In other news, board architect Robert Donahue provided the board with an update on the school district's construction projects.
The grammar schools are complete. The buildings have received new roofs, windows and doors and the high school is well on its way to completion, said Mandala.
Work at the high school include new ceilings and a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.