Falmouth, teachers agree to 3-year contract

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FALMOUTH — The teachers’ union and School Board have reached an agreement on a three-year contract that includes wage increases for each year.

The contract, which was formalized on March 13, will add an estimated $830,000 to the roughly $30 million School Department budget.

About $270,000 of the increase will go toward wage increases. The rest will go toward so-called step increases in wages and health coverage for approximately 185 teachers, according to School Board Chairman Andrew Kinley.

The contract, which is effective Sept. 1 through August 2017, calls for wage increases in each of the three years: 2 percent the first year, 2 percent the second year, and 3 percent in the third.

The contract’s impact on the budget during the second and third years is unknown because increases in health-care costs are unpredictable, Kinley said this week. Also, in any given year, many teachers will receive step increases, the raises that correspond with teachers’ experience levels. The district offers 20 such steps.

The wage increases, which Kinley said are comparable to cost-of-living increases, are about average with raises the past seven years.

From 2007 to 2010, Falmouth teachers received 3 percent wage increases each year, Kinley said.

But in the 2010-2011 school year, teachers received no wage increases. Over the next three years, wages slowly increased: 1 percent, 2.25 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.

Kinley said the negotiated outcome, like any negotiation, left both sides less than perfectly happy, but “everyone is satisfied.”

Peter Vose, president of the Falmouth Education Association, said a “substantial majority” of teachers voted in favor of the contract. Some teachers, however, voted against the contract because they were “not satisfied with the raises we negotiated,” among other reasons, he said.

“But, most were satisfied,” Vose said.

Ben McCanna can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or bmccanna@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @BenMcCanna.