NEW GLOUCESTER — A new three-year contract ratified by the School Administrative District 15 board of directors and the Gray-New Gloucester Teachers Union includes higher wages and lower health insurance costs, Superintendent Bruce Beasley said Wednesday.

The agreement is for the period Sept. 1, 2014, through Aug. 31, 2017.

Teachers, who began the new school year last week, were approaching the second year without a contract.

Beasley said the new contract adjusts the salary scale beginning this year. Teachers at step one with a bachelor’s degree will earn $35,700, up from $31,059. At step 21 they will earn $61,218.

Teachers at step one with a master’s degree will earn $37,480 and with a master’s degree plus 30 credits will earn $38,760. At the 21st step they will earn $65,488 and $67,199, respectively.

In the last year of the contract, high school teachers may be assigned six credit classes of 80 minutes each daily, rather than the current schedule of five classes daily.

Health care benefits were also adjusted in the new agreement. On Jan. 1, single teachers with a child will have 83 percent of insurance premiums paid by the district. Currently, 78 percent are paid by the district.

A family plan will have 75 percent of premiums paid by the district, however if the spouse has insurance through their workplace, they will be required to be covered by their employer.

The school board approved the contract Wednesday night and the teachers union ratified it Thursday.

“This is a very fair contract for the teachers association,” Superintendent Beasley said. “And, it’s a good foundation for the district.”

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