Contract Signed and Sealed

    After two years of negotiations, the Springs School Board called a special meeting on Monday night to announce a settlement with the Springs Teachers Association on a new contract.
    Last Thursday the teachers, who had been working without a contract since 2010, okayed changes made to the previous five-year agreement. The board unanimously accepted the new contract, which will expire in 2015.
    “I’m so glad that we’ve come to this point,” Maryellen Farrell, a Springs School teacher whose three children graduated from the school, told the board. “It’s very positive that we’re able to move on. I’m so glad Mr. Mucci is our superintendent. He’s brought a lot of positive energy, I’m hearing it from everyone. Mr. Casale and Mr. Mucci seem to make a good team.”
    Quality education was the top priority, said Margaret Garsetti, who teaches English as a second language. “I just want to thank all the board,” she said. “We’re all a team now. Morale is so great, I feel so happy again.”
    Teachers agreed to increase their contribution to health insurance to 15 percent of premiums effective July 1, 2014, and will receive a salary increase totaling 3.75 percent over the life of the contract. They had not had an increase since 2010, when the last contract expired.
    The board and the teachers association also agreed, according to a release, to “more rigorous professional development criteria for salary advancement, decreased insurance buyouts; and a mutual restructuring of non-teaching time.”
    In May, Springs approved the district budget, the first to come under the newly imposed, state-mandated 2-percent property tax cap, by a vote of 434 to 139. The $24.63 million budget reflected over $700,000 worth of cuts imposed by the school board to stay under the cap.