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New Teacher Contract to Save District $150K in Insurance Premiums

After 18 months of negotiations, Verona Board of Education, Verona Education Association reach three-year agreement.

Verona Superintendent of Schools Steve Forte
Verona Superintendent of Schools Steve Forte

Verona teachers and other union employees will see a 2.45% salary increase as part of a recently ratified three-year contract.

The contract, retroactive to July 1, 2012 when the previous contract expired, was the result of an 18-month negotiation with the Verona Education Association, the union representing district teachers, administrative assistants and maintenance workers, Verona Superintendent Steve Forte said in a press release.

Major challenges in the negotiations included balancing competitive salaries with rising healthcare costs and budget constraints, Forte said.

The new salaries are effective November 2012, with salaries frozen at prior levels from July to November 2012.

The staff will move two steps in salary growth rather than the normal three steps during the three-year term, a move which helps the board slow the growth of salary costs, Forte said.

Changes in healthcare coverage will save the district approximately $150,000 a year in insurance premium costs.

Verona benefits are 25.94% of salaries, which is lower than 92% of the 574 school districts in the state, Forte said.

Annual employee contributions to benefits will increase by $484,000 over the life of the contract.

Employees will contribute 17.5% of insurance premiums in 2014-15, up from 6.4% for the 2011-2012 school year. This is the third year of a four-year timeline dictated by the state’s pension and benefit reform law. 

“The BOE and the VEA enjoy a healthy relationship committed to the benefit of our students and community,” Forte said. “The mutual respect we share is the result of consistently working together towards our common goals.”

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