BEDFORD, N.Y. – The Bedford Central School District’s Board of Education and the Bedford Teachers’ Association ratified a new, three-year contract agreement at Wednesday night’s board meeting.
The deal, retroactive to July 1, will run through June 30, 2016. The previous deal, a four-year contract, expired June 30. In July, the board announced it had reached a tentative agreement with the teachers.
“The sole goal of this agreement is education — it’s all about kids learning,” Superintendent Jere Hochman said. “This agreement focuses on the teaching practice and professional growth to continue the improvement of every student’s achievement.”
The district, BTA and administration to studied Bedford's economic condition and the interests of the both parties in what has become a well-known financial struggle for the district.
“The salary increases are mindful of the economic climate and slows the trajectory of district spending while compensating our employees,” Hochman said.
The new agreement provides compensation increases for current teachers, a new compensation model for newly hired teachers, enhanced expectations in evaluation, changes in health benefits, a commitment academic time, and other adjustments.
All employees hired before July 1, 2013 will continue to be compensated using the district salary schedule, however, the compensation using the “step system” is modified during the first two years of the contact to save the district money.
The new contract gives current teachers a partial 75-percent step increase (compared to the previous step increase) for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years and a full step increase in the 2015-16 school year. Employees on the top step will also receive a recurring payment of $750 all three years. Employees not on the top step in 2014-15 will receive a recurring payment of $1,000 in the 2015-16 school year.
The total cost of BTA payroll over the three-year period will be 0.63 percent higher than it would have been without the agreement—saving the district approximately $855,000.
For teachers hired after June 30, 2013, a new compensation model has been developed. Hochman said the key word is “model,” as it is one that can be built upon and shaped over time, as educational demands, financial conditions, and expectations change.
New teachers will be hired with a designated salary of $69,500 for probationary teachers and $64,000 for leave replacements. Both salaries will receive an annual increase of 1.75 percent each year. In comparison, the step increases on the previous ranged from 4 to 7 percent.
The BOE unanimously ratified the agreement, and each member had nothing but positive things to say about it.
“This agreement showed a great amount of hard work and a shared vision from both parties involved,” board member Jennifer Gerken said.