From the Board of Education and the HEA:
The Hamden Board of Education and the Hamden Education Association reached an agreement Tuesday on terms for a successor 3-year contract to be in effect from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2015.
The parties reached this agreement prior to the commencement of arbitration hearings that had been scheduled to begin in December.
The new contract contains a complete salary freeze for all teachers in the first year of the contract. Teachers who are not on the maximum step of the salary schedule will advance one step in each of the second and third years, while those teachers who reach the maximum step will receive a general wage increase of 1.25 percent in the second and 1.5 percent in the third year of the contract. The total combined salary cost over the life of the contract is estimated to be 5.7 percent.
Additionally, the new contract provides for significant changes to the teachers’ health benefits that promise substantial savings to the Board and teachers, according to union officials.
“The Board and the HEA crafted a series of changes to the medical plan design that are expected to save in excess of $900,000 per year," said HEA President Diane Marinaro. "Teachers will receive medical care in the most cost effective manner, and continue to pay a 16 percent co-pay for the entire three years of the new contract.”
“The teachers deserve a tremendous amount of credit for the way they recognized the economic challenges to the community and by working collaboratively with the board to meet these challenges,” said Board of Education chairman Michael D’Agostino.
“This contract is fair and cost-effective. The medical changes alone will save the town significant sums over the life of the contract and beyond while delivering improved care and service," D'Agostino said. "I hope that the rest of the town and BOE unions will follow the teachers’ lead in this regard.”
D’Agostino and Marinaro praised the willingness of the parties to work collaboratively to achieve an agreement which they believe supports education, is responsive to challenging economic circumstances and is fair to both Hamden taxpayers and its teachers, many of whom are also Hamden taxpayers, Marinaro said.