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    Friday, January 27, 2023

    Stonington school board, teachers’ union sign 3-year contract

    Stonington ― The Board of Education and the teachers’ union have signed a three-year contract that will take effect in July 2023 and provide annual raises totaling 14.08% over the duration of the contract.

    Stonington Education Association President Michael Freeman said Stonington’s teachers’ salaries have ranked in the bottom 25 out of 175 collective bargaining units covered by the Connecticut Education Association and that the new contract will hopefully impact that ranking.

    The contract calls for raises of 6.09%, 4.18% and 3.81%.

    Signed Oct. 13, the contract eliminates seniority payments for teachers who reach the top pay level after 12 years with the district. Teachers who previously received seniority payments will receive a one-time raise of 5.15% in the first year of the contract to offset the discontinued payments, 1.98% in year two and 1.99% in year three.

    “The teachers who were getting seniority are still getting it, but it’s no longer a separate salary schedule; it’s inclusive of year one. That’s why that number is so big,” Freeman said.

    All teachers not at the maximum level will move up one step and receive a 1.95% raise in year one of the contract, move up a step and receive 1.98% in year two, and move up a step and receive 1.99% year three.

    The last contract included an increase of 9% over three years, but increased employee costs for health insurance.

    “One of the most important things that I tried to do is hold the line for costs on our health insurance,” Freeman said, adding, “three years from now, it will be 20 percent, so it’s only a half a percent increase per year.”

    Three more areas of study were added to the top tier of pay raises given to teachers with advanced degrees. Teachers traditionally receive a pay raise when they attain a master’s degree, and another when they attain a sixth-year certificate, but some degrees require more extensive work than others.

    “When you get into a social worker, or a speech pathologist or a school psychologist ― their master’s degrees can be twice as large, as far as credits, compared to a teacher’s master’s degree,” Freeman said. “We just cleaned up some of the more specialized areas that have these gigantic degrees so they could be recognized and compensated for all that education.”

    Some additional changes included adding 15 minutes to the workday, and a 1% increase in stipends for additional positions, such as coaching sports teams, directing extracurricular activities, and curriculum specialists.

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