SOUTH KINGSTOWN – After months of contentious school negotiations, the South Kingstown School Committee and National Education Association-South Kingstown (NEA-SK) have agreed to and ratified the three year collective bargaining agreement for 2011 to 2014.
The new contract includes a salary freeze, a graduated health insurance contribution up to 20 percent and establishes the teacher evaluation and Basic Education Plan policies adopted by the school committee until court decisions are made in the Providence and Portsmouth school districts. Teachers agreed to $755,000 in economic concessions to fill the budget deficit, yet the school district will face a $5 million deficit in 2013.
The NEA-SK union membership ratified the agreement last Thursday, Aug. 11 and the school committee followed, approving the agreement in a 6 to 0 vote at Tuesday night’s school committee meeting. The new contract begins Sept. 1. The agreement comes just before the Aug. 31 deadline, when the last contract was to expire.
“Negotiations are a process of give and take. It’s very hard work. This year we experienced a new set of challenges. Throughout the process the school committee was true to its commitment to reach an agreement that supports student learning. I’m in full support of the CBA,” School Committee Chairperson Maureen Cotter said in a letter Vice Chairperson Dr. Anthony Mega read at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Cotter said she had been originally scheduled to be out of state at the time of the meeting.
Although the union did approve the contract, NEA-SK President Christine Heid said she was not happy with the contract because over the next three years, teachers have the potential to lose $2.6 million based on a salary freeze and up to a 20 percent co-share and it does not support student learning.
For more information, pick up a copy of Friday's The Narragansett Times.