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Committee announces an agreement reached in teachers' contracts

Date: 10/5/2009

Peter T. Salerno, chair of the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School Committee, Superintendent Marty O'Shea and Gary Manuel, president of the Hampden-Wilbraham Education Association (HWEA), are pleased to announce an agreement has been reached regarding concessions in the current teachers' contract.

The concessions will result in a savings to the school district of $420,000 over this year and next year. In return, the teachers will have their contract extended and get a wage increase of 2.75 percent for fiscal year 2012 and three percent for fiscal 2013.

According to Salerno, "The district gets some immediate relief in the next two years which helps us with the decreased state aid." He said the district agreed to extend the teachers' contract because "cooperation is not a one-way street."

Manuel said the agreement was reached with the teachers "by a wide margin." He further stated, "The teachers were interested in doing the right thing for the students of the district and realized that a no vote would have resulted in more staff layoffs and this would have directly impacted the students."

New Superintendent Marty O'Shea said, "It's gratifying to see the HWEA work cooperatively in the best interest of our students."

Details of the agreement are that the teachers agreed to reduce their salary increase for fiscal 2011 by .25 percent, increase their portion of the health insurance premium by $500 for one full year and take a one-day furlough this year and a two-day furlough next year. The furloughs will be taken on teachers' professional development days when school is not in session and will not interfere with time on learning for students.

The concessions from the teachers are significant, but as Manuel stressed, "The dedicated teachers of the HWEA are willing to make these sacrifices to ensure the integrity of the schools and allow the district to continue its history of educational excellence."

"Our hats are off to the teachers," Salerno said, "for stepping up to help the school district."