Update: Teachers, school board ratify contract

Teachers in the Princeton School District are working the last eight days of the school year under a new contract.

The year-long contract dispute between Independent School District 477 and the Princeton Education Association ended on Tuesday, May 22, a day in which the teachers and board of education both approved the contract language.

The contract, approved by the teachers on a 167-48 vote, gives the teachers a retroactive one percent raise in the 2011-12 school year and a 1.25 percent increase in the upcoming 2012-13 school year. But that’s not all.

The teachers will also receive step and lane increases that should net most teachers a pay raise. A step increase compensates teachers for longevity. A lane increase compensates a teacher for their achievements in continued education, for example, a Masters degree or progress towards a Masters degree. There are no increases in benefits such as insurance under the approved contract.

“We are pleased to reach a settlement with our teachers on an agreement that both sides can support,” said Superintendent Richard Lahn.

In addition to a raise and step and lane increases, other teaching professionals will see an increase in compensation.

Early childhood teachers will be paid an additional dollar per hour for each step on the ECFE schedule; teachers teaching orientation sessions at both the high school and middle school will see an increase in compensation; members of building leadership teams, estimated at 40-50 teachers, will receive a $250 stipend for their added service; and summer school and summer program teachers will receive an hourly pay of $32 per hour.

School board member Dr. Jim Gibbs, who served on the negotiating team, thanked the Princeton Education Association for the professionalism with which its members negotiated.

Language regarding teacher discipline proved to be a sticking point for some in the PEA.

“The school district has the option to suspend a teacher without pay for up to five days for ‘just cause’,” Lahn said.

All discipline is subject to the grievance procedure of the school district, he said.