Westerly teachers, district agree to 1-year deal; 1% raise for those on top step

Westerly teachers, district agree to 1-year deal; 1% raise for those on top step

The Westerly Sun

WESTERLY — A 1 percent salary increase for top-step teachers is the only change in the recent one-year contract extension agreed to by the School Committee and the teachers' union.

The committee voted 6-0 to approve the extension during its Aug. 9 meeting. Committee member Rebecca Greene was absent. There was no discussion by the committee. The committee had been meeting since March in closed-door executive sessions to discuss the contract with the Westerly Teachers Association.

A one year extension was negotiated rather than the customary three-year contract in light of the hiring last month of a new district superintendent.

“The committee wanted the new superintendent to be involved in contract negotiations so he would have ownership of the new contract and an understanding of how terms came about,” Diane Chiaradio Bowdy, School Committee chairwoman, said during an interview Wednesday, explaining why the committee opted for a one-year extension.

Superintendent Mark Garceau started his job on July 3, succeeding Roy Seitsinger Jr., who served as superintendent for seven years.

Top-step, or Step 9, teachers will now earn base annual pay of $83,758. It takes 12 years to reach the top step.

According to the fiscal impact statement, posted on the School Department website before the committee approved the extension, the contract extension will have an overall impact of $665,567, which includes the increase in pay for Step 9 teachers as well as the cost of their pension, payroll taxes, health insurance and other fringe benefits.

The extension will last through Aug. 31, 2018. The current contract, originally a three-year deal, went into effect in 2013 and a two-year extension was implemented in 2015. That extension will expire on Aug. 31.

The 2017-18 town-to-schools budget appropriation is $54,843,512.

Representatives of the teachers union could not be reached for this article.



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