Vernon school district approves pact with teachers

Union to receive two 3.3% raises as part of new deal

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New Contract details

Teachers and staff receive:
3.3 percent raise retroactive to 2012-13 school year
Another 3.3 percent raise after 18 months

The Vernon Township School District Board of Education recently approved a new contract for the Vernon Township Education Assocation, the union representing teachers and certified staff.

The approval marked the end of a prolonged negotiation process that had left the teachers without a contract for more than a year.

“It was a long road to get here,” school board president David Zweier said. “I hope we can come back to the same side of the table now. Let's work together and move forward.”

The only dissenting voice was board member John McGowan, who said he was voting yes, but had an issue with the mechanics of the contract.

The contract includes two 3.3 percent raises, one retroactive to last year and ther other after 18 months. According to McGowan, the base year for these raises is based on the salary base at the end of the 2011-12 school year. In that year, there were 368 staff members and a $28 million salary base. By this school year, there were only 343 staff members and a smaller salary base.

McGowan said that given the larger wage base and smaller staff, the existing staff will get a 3.5 percent raise instead of a 3.3 percent one. The district still has to give the teachers back wages based on the raise they should have had last year, and McGowan said the district will pay a settlement of 3.4 percent to 3.5 percent to all of the existing teachers.

But regardless of his objections, the contract passed, much to the relief of the negotiations committee as well.

“It has been a very long road,” board member Cynthia Auberger said. “I hope we don't have to travel down it again, but I would I do it again with all of you.”

Acting Superintendent Dr. Charles Maranzano praised the teachers as well.

“I have been in other districts during this process, and the teachers have not behaved in a way that is in the best interests of the kids," he said. "That didn't happen here.”

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