Novice teachers’ pay is boosted in new contract

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LIVERMORE FALLS – SAD 36 directors and the teachers’ union have reached an agreement on a two-year contract that raises a beginning teacher’s pay to a minimum of $30,000 and compresses the salary schedule from 35 years to 20 years.

Both sides say the contract is a good fit for the district.

The contract was approved in mid June with a unanimous vote of the school board and near unanimous vote from members of the SAD 36 Education Association.

Health insurance contributions stayed the same as the last three-year contract with the district picking up 90 percent of the cost and teachers picking up 10 percent.

The salary increase, which fluctuates depending on what level a teacher is at on the salary schedule, will cost the district about 3 percent a year through the two-year contract, SAD 36 Vice Chairman Fred Nadeau said. Due to the minimum teacher pay increase, raises will be greater on the low end of the pay scale than they are on the high end, Nadeau, board negotiator, said.

Gov. John Baldacci raised the starting teachers’ pay to a minimum $30,000 beginning Sept. 1, and all school systems had to adjust their starting pay for teachers. The existing pay for starting teachers is a minimum of $27,000, which was also approved by the governor, association chief negotiator John DiSotto said,

The SAD 36 teachers’ contract runs from Sept. 1, 2007, to Aug. 31, 2009.

“Everyone will see an increase,” Nadeau said.

DiSotto said the highlight of the contract, as far as the teachers’ association is concerned, is the salary was compressed from 35 years to 20 years, which includes $30,000 minimum salary as mandated by the state.

“As a result, the district should be better able to attract and retain new teachers,” DiSotto said.

“Negotiations were very professional, very cordial,” DiSotto said. “The team was very pleased with the professionalism of the board. There was very open dialogue between the negotiation team and the board. As is with all negotiations there was some give and take on both sides, but we were able to achieve agreement without confrontation.”

Board chief negotiator Amie Smith also said negotiations went very well.

“We put out our concerns, and they put out their concerns,” Smith said. “There was a lot of give and take.”

SAD 36 Superintendent Terry Despres was unavailable for comment Monday to say what the total cost of the contract would be to the district .

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