"We are still anxious to see mandate relief that has been coupled with the tax cap to see what they are going to do in terms of mandate relief that will help us maintain and improve our programs to kids," said Swartz.
The new contract will help the school maintain educational programming, Swartz said, and BOE President Pamela Carbone echoed her statement.
"I think it is a good contract that benefits everybody, especially the kids we can go forward without conflict," said Board of Education President Pamela.
State law dictates teachers advance one step for each year of service. In the approved contract, the step increase averages 3 percent across the 23 steps available. The 1 percent salary increase for the first year of the contract is in addition to any step increase attained. A teacher on step 23 with a bachelor's degree in September 2010 was paid $86,344, according to district officials. In September 2011, that teacher will make $87,207. Since there is no step increase in 2012, the teacher would only receive a $500 payment in addition to their salary.
The starting salary of a teacher with a bachelor's degree in 2010 was $40,400, which will increase to $40,804 in 2011. District officials said a higher starting salary is important for the district to attract and keep good teachers.
The board on Monday also recognized two departing members of the Board of Education, Benjamin Conlon and Leslie Smith.
Conlon decided he didn't want to run for another term after serving on the board for nine years. He cited personal reasons, such as a busy work schedule, for leaving. Smith was elected in 2010 to fill a remaining term but wasn't reelected in the recent election for a full three-year term.
"[Conlon's] expertise in law has been very beneficial to us; we all counted on him to look over the contracts we were about ready to approve and he made sure everything was in order," said Carbone. "Nine years is a really long time and we really appreciate it. You have spent a lot of Monday nights here."
Colon said it was a good learning experience for him and he urged other people to run for the school board to experience it themselves.
"I have never been on a board that every person is not here for the right reason," said Conlon.""