WEST WINDSOR-PLAINSBORO: School district, teachers agree to three-year contract

0
154
PERM-WWPSCHOOLS.jpg

By Lea Kahn, Staff Writer
WEST WINDSOR — Teachers in the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District are in line for salary increases of 2.9 percent in each of the next three school years, based on a contract approved by the school board last week.
The school board and the West Windsor-Plainsboro Education Association reached an agreement on the contract, which took effect on July 1 and runs through June 30, 2019. It covers the 850 members of the teachers union.
“We are pleased to announce that the agreement has been finalized before the end of the school year,” school board member Dana Krug, who chaired the school board’s negotiations committee, said at the school board’s June 28 meeting.
The starting salary for a new teacher with no experience is $51,000 per year. A teacher at the top of the salary guide — and who holds a Ph.D. — will earn $93,650. Longevity pay will increase the paycheck for a teacher at the top of the scale.
In addition to the 2.9-percent increase in salaries, the contract calls for 2 percent increases in pay for extracurricular positions during the first two years of the contract. However, there is no increase in pay for those positions during the 2018-19 school year, which is the final year of the contract.
The contract also tweaked health insurance coverage for the union members — specifically, the prescription drug plan. The co-pay for generic drugs remain at $10, but the co-pay for brand name drugs will increase from $20 to $35. A third tier — non-preferred brand name drugs — will cost $50 for the co-pay.
The change will result in savings of about $500,000 to the district in the first year of the contract, Ms. Krug said. It will serve as a significant cost containment for increases in prescription premiums in future years, she said.
“By negotiating substantial changes in the prescription benefit — including higher co-pays and a three-tier plan — the school board was able to support salary increases for all employees represented by the education association,” Ms. Krug said.
The contract also calls for employees to contribute toward the cost of their medical and prescription insurance premiums. During the 2015-16 school year, WWPEA members contributed 24 percent of the cost of their medical and prescription coverage.
Noting that this is the third time that he has been involved in contract negotiations, school board president Anthony Fleres said the West Windsor-Plainsboro Education Association was “very professional.” While contract negotiations can be adversarial, the negotiations between the two parties were “cordial,” he said. 