The Southborough (K-8) School Committee met last night to put their stamp of approval on a new teacher contract that will award 3.5 percent in pay raises over the next three years in return for teachers paying more for their health insurance. The Metrowest Daily News reports on the story:
Superintendent Charles Gobron said the contracts favor the town because teachers agreed to pick up 25 percent, rather than 20, of their health care premiums.
He said the raises – .75 percent in the first year, 1.25 percent in the second and 1.5 percent in the third – will mainly reimburse the teachers for the money they lost. He added that as health care premiums rise, so will the amount teachers pay.
School Committee Chairwoman Marybeth Strickland said teachers “were very fair and understanding of the fiscal realities we face,” noting that contracts in the past have been much more generous.
While teachers voted to ratify the contract last week, details on its contents were not available at Town Meeting this week because it had not yet been approved by the school committee. Selectman John Rooney criticized the administration for not making the information available to voters before they decided whether to approve the school budget.
“Teachers ratified new a contract, and that contract over next three years gives teachers the highest raises of any town union,” Rooney said. “We didn’t hear that from Dr. Gobron [in his presentation].”
School Committee member Marybeth Strickland told Town Meeting voters that teachers got “very, very small raises” to offset their increased health care contributions.
Contracts approved last week for the municipal unions – including police, fire, DPW, and clerical – promise raises in the 1.5 to 2.5 percent range over three years, with no raises awarded this year.