Newport School Board, Newport Teachers Assn. at Impasse in Contract Negotiations
Dates Set to Move Forward with Process
In a statement released Monday morning, SAU 43 superintendent Cindy Gallagher announced that “The Newport School Board ratified a negotiated contract with the Newport Teachers Association (NTA) for the 2018-19 academic year and this contract failed as a warrant article in the March 2018 school district budget vote. The failure of a community to adopt a ratified contract has a negative effect on the School District. In the education profession, it is typical for a teacher to receive a year of service for each year in the profession in the form of a ‘step raise’ that provides a guaranteed raise through the collective bargaining agreement. In Newport, we have teachers who have gone seven years without a raise and are ‘seven years off step.’ This results in low morale among the staff.”
Gallagher went on to say, “The Newport School Board has heard many of the concerns of the citizens regarding the teacher contract, including difficulty hiring beginning teachers because of low pay, concerns about teacher retention, ‘off-step’ salary schedules, and health insurance premiums. Because of these shared concerns, Newport School Board requested the opportunity to negotiate with the NTA in August, 2018. After several opportunities to negotiate and a day long meditation, the Newport School Board and Newport Teachers Association were unable to agree upon contract terms.
“The Newport School Board presented a set of proposals that addressed all of the priority issues voiced by the Newport community and teachers alike. The Newport School Board realizes that having salaries that are not competitive with other districts in the region causes further erosion of our educational programming and services for our students. The Board provided a salary schedule that brought salaries in line with regional median values to entice new teachers and corrected the step concern to retain our current teachers. The Board pursued a contract that would ensure that resources were allocated in a manner to best meet the educational needs of all students. The proposal was designed to promote working conditions that would attract and then retain the best possible faculty for our children.
"The Newport School Board and the Newport Teachers Association reached an impasse after mediation.”
According to Gallagher, the next step after a declared impasse is a fact-finding process, and the Newport School Board and NTA have set dates to move forward with this process in mid-November.
“The Board and the NTA are also able to continue negotiations to work an agreed resolution prior to the formal fact-finding hearing,” said Gallagher. “The Newport School Board is committed to ratifying a contract that best meets the needs of our children, our teachers and our community.”