City Officials Announce Details of New Teachers’ Union Contract
City and school officials announced the details of a new four-year collective bargaining agreement between the city and the New Bedford Educators Association Monday morning outside Carney Academy.
The new deal was ratified by the teachers' union last week and officials Monday, like Superintendent Pia Durkin, agreed it was "fair and reasonable for all involved."
The deal is retroactive to the 2015-16 school year and runs through 2018-19 school year.
Among the terms of the agreement are a 1.75% annual pay increase for educators over the next three years and dedicated planning time during school days.
"This is a real big step forward for our district as it continues to strive forward," New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell said. "This is a district that is making things happen. It's doing it in the best interest of the city and of the children who attend our schools."
"Teachers will now have the benefit of professional development and planning time during the school day in which they can work with their colleagues to better their practice and to make what works for children in a much stronger way," Durkin said.
Individual schools will be responsible for scheduling common planning time. Five planning periods will take place before the school day begins while another five will take place during school days.
Also as part of the CBA is the return of full-day Fridays. For the past 41 years, elementary school students in New Bedford have been released at 1PM rather than 2:30PM to allow for professional development planning. Durkin has been adamant in changing this policy since she took over the school district and is pleased to see it finally happen.
"We are gaining 60 hours of education for our elementary school children and very importantly we are gaining planning time for elementary school teachers," Durkin said. "We know not only is time important for our children but what they do with it."
Increased time in school also allows for an increase in "specialty classes" such as arts, science, music and technology.
"How great is it that we'll be able to offer New Bedford children, on a weekly basis, the specialist time that their peers in other communities get," said Josh Amaral, vice-chairman of the New Bedford school committee.
Following the news conference, Mitchell and Durkin toured some of these classes at Carney.
The contract will receive a final vote from the school committee at a future meeting.