Contract gives raises to teachers

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LEWISTON – Members of Lewiston’s teachers union voted overwhelmingly Thursday night to accept a contract offer from the city. Lewiston teachers have been working without a contract since late August.

“Everybody did get a raise,” said Muffett Dulac, co-president of the Lewiston Education Association. “The pay was very fair.” A 90 percent approval from teachers “is an overwhelming majority,” Dulac said. “Many people were pleased.”

Teachers voted at the Lewiston High School and the Lewiston Middle School. The votes were then counted by union official at the middle school, Dulac said.

Dulac, a middle-school teacher, said Friday she could not release more details of the contract because it has yet to be approved by the Lewiston School Committee. It’ll go to the committee on Jan. 29.

But two earlier sticking points were pay raises and language that had to do with class schedules and teacher preparation.

In November frustrated teachers without a contract staged a silent protest at one of the school committee meetings. Standing in the back of the room, teachers held signs that said: “Respect for Public Education Means Respect for Teachers,” “Respect for Education = a Fair Contract.”

Dulac and the other union co-president, Crystal Ward, said at that time the city’s offer amounted to a 1.9 percent salary raise. The School Department countered that their offer was actually 3.25 percent a year, or $1.6 million worth of salary increases.

The difference was the union was not counting step increases, the school department was.

School Committee member Thomas Shannon, who serves on the negotiating team for the city, said then that teachers in Lewiston are making “good wages.”

The starting salary for a Lewiston teacher is about $30,000, within 15 years a teacher with a four-year degree earns about $50,000, Shannon said.

School department human resources manager Tom Garvis said the union represents nearly 400 Lewiston teachers and school nurses.

– By Bonnie Washuk

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