With teachers and school boards at Red Bank Regional and Shrewsbury Borough mired in lengthy contract disputes, the Red Bank School District quickly and relatively painlessly negotiated and approved a new contract with its teachers over the summer.
Following the expiration of the teacher’s contract at the end of last school year, the board of education unanimously approved a new three-year deal at its August meeting. Details of the deal were not immediately released pending contingent approval of the new contract by the district’s teachers.
For the first year of the contract, teachers will see a 2.8 percent increase in their salaries. For the following two years, that figure drops to 2.4 percent. The percentage figures are somewhat misleading, however, as teacher salaries increase based on an already established pay scale determined by experience.
The new contract also requires teachers, under state law, to pay higher copays and contribute more to their medical benefits.
Overall, Superintendent Laura Morana said she was pleased with the new contract as well as its timely resolution.
“We are delighted to have an outcome that reflects the commitment of the district and its teachers,” she said. “We maximized the dollars that came into the district and that were available, and we were able to support our teachers.”
Board member Sue Viscomi also thanked the teachers for their effort in making the process progress as smoothly as possible.
“We were able to come together for the good of the students, the teachers and the town,” she said.
Board member Peter Noble echoed that sentiment and said the contract negotiation was “a pleasure.” A retired police officer, Noble said he negotiated contracts throughout his 30-year law enforcement career. It’s rare that two sides can enter negotiations as friends and come out as friends, but that’s just what happened this time around, Noble said.
Stacy Sherwood, president of the Red Bank Teachers Association, thanked the board for its help in coming to agreeable terms. The contract for Red Bank’s roughly 160 teachers expired at the end of June and both sides were determined to reach terms on a new one prior to the start of the school year.
“I just wanted to say how smoothly we worked together, and it is greatly appreciated,” she told the board.