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Westfield Board of Education Ratifies Teachers' Contract at Special Meeting

Patricia Harris

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 • 10:52pm

WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield Board of Education unanimously ratified a contract with the teachers’ union granting a 2 percent salary increase at Tuesday night’s special meeting.

The one-year contract is effective retroactively from July 1 of this year through June 30, 2014.

Under the new contract, teachers will be required to contribute more to their health insurance. They can continue to waive Westfield district insurance coverage if they have additional sources of health insurance.

The waiver will yield nearly $750,000 in savings, according to BOE Negotiations Chairperson Ginny Leiz, who presented the contract for approval.

“With this contract in place, our 2013-2014 school year can being with emphasis where it belongs—on our students and their learning,” she noted.

Leiz also said the average settlement rate for teacher contract in the state this year is 2.5 percent.

The only member of the public on hand for the meeting, resident Gary McCready, asked why a special meeting was called for the ratification.

Superintendent Margaret Dolan explained the district has moved to holding one board meeting a month and the board would have had to wait for next one on Sept. 17.

“We want to start the school year with a contract,” she said.

In a news release issued by the district, the Westfield Education Association president Kim Schumacher is quoted as saying, “Although negotiations are never easy, the association is pleased to announce we have reached an agreement with the board of education on a successor contract. We look forward to doing what we do best … educating the students of Westfield.”

In addition to Leiz, the district’s negotiating team members included board members Ann Cary, Gretchen Ohlig and Mitchell Slater, as well as administrative liaisons Barbara Ball, human resources specialist, and Dana Sullivan, business administrator.

The WEA negotiating team members included Schumacher, chief negotiator Michael Seiler, Lillian Alston, Dominick Ceccio, Scott Rutherford, Mary Wickens and Debbie Ann Vezos.

The WEA represents more than 500 teachers, nurses, librarians, guidance counselors, social workers and school psychologists.

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