The following press release is being sent to you on behalf of the Barrington School Committee:
BARRINGTON SCHOOL COMMITTEE
NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION BARRINGTON
SUCCESSOR COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT (2019-2022)
After months of hard work by both parties, the Barrington School Committee and the National Education Association Barrington (NEAB) have reached a successor collective bargaining agreement. NEAB ratified this agreement on November 6th, and the Committee approved it on November 7th. The Agreement makes explicit the ways in which Barrington teachers and administrators continue to work collaboratively in the best interests of our students.
The following are just a few of the highlights of the successor agreement:
- A continued commitment to academic support for students … The teachers have reaffirmed their pledge to provide after-school help for students for as long as is reasonably necessary.
- Expanded parental engagement … The Agreement establishes new practices that provide for organized, meaningful opportunities for parental engagement with their student’s academic experience. These opportunities will be differentiated by grade level, and will build upon the teachers’ longstanding commitment to “be available for parent conferences throughout the year.”
- An emphasis on fiscal prudence and fairness … For years, our lower-step teachers have received only step and no cost of living adjustments to their salaries. As a result, our entry-level teachers were among the lowest paid in the State, while contractual increases for our top-step teachers made them among the highest. The new agreement awards proportionately greater salary increases to our entry-level teachers in an effort to correct this disparity. When combined with the teachers’ agreement to a schedule of increased copayments for prescription drugs, the agreed-upon salary increases are fiscally prudent and fair, yielding an overall budget increase for each of the three years of the Agreement of less than 2%.
- De-emphasizing longevity … Traditional payments awarding longevity in the District have been decreased for teachers hired on or after January 1, 2020.
- Educator quality will be the determining factor when filling vacancies … The Agreement reforms the process by which open positions in the District are filled. It states unambiguously and explicitly that the person selected to fill a vacancy shall be the most qualified based upon education, training, experience, ability, certification, previous employment record, and the specific requirements of the position. Only when applicants are equally qualified will seniority in the District be considered. While the Committee and the Union continue to respect the value that work experience brings to teaching, they recognize that length of service, in and of itself, should not be the controlling factor when hiring, transferring, or retaining educators. In order to provide the best for our students and to maintain a culture of excellence, Barrington looks to hire and retain the most qualified educator for each position.
- Increased recognition of teacher education and improvement … The Agreement continues to honor teachers for their professional development and educational achievement through increased tuition aid, new stipends for teachers who achieve a doctoral degree and, in the first year of the contract, greater salary increases for those who have completed additional graduate studies.
- Clarification of proper use of educator personal days and sick leave … Personal leave provisions have been revised to make clear that this benefit is to be used to conduct personal business that cannot be conducted at any other time. The language regarding sick leave clarifies that such leave is to be used to care for oneself or one’s family when sick or injured. Teachers and the District continue to work together to minimize absenteeism and improper use of these benefits so that our students benefit from our outstanding educator talent every day.
- “Appendix B” refinements … The process by which academic/instructional and student activity leadership positions within the schools are filled has been reformed to ensure that the most qualified applicants serve and that these leaders are fairly and equitably rewarded. The revised “Appendix B” reflects both new and deleted positions that draw upon our educators’ talents to lead in the curriculum, special education, and the District’s robust extracurricular program. In addition, “Appendix C”, which delineates athletic coaching positions and associated compensation, will be removed from the Agreement beginning with the 2020-2021 school year. School Committee policy will govern the hiring and retention of all coaches, many of whom are not members of NEAB.
- Management control of leave of absence decisions … The new Agreement aligns the District’s leave of absence protections with federal and state law, and reforms operation of the major illness bank, also known as the “sick bank.” The changes to “sick bank” operations are the first of their kind in the State. Teachers will no longer be required to disclose protected health information to a panel of their peers in order to obtain financial assistance during an extended illness. These disclosures will be made only to administrators who are entrusted with evaluating and securing such disclosures. The decision to grant a long-term leave will be vested entirely with the Superintendent who is best able to ensure that the rights and needs of both teachers and students are respected and properly balanced.
The Committee is pleased with the meaningful progress that this new agreement represents. We recognize the extreme dedication and care that both parties showed throughout negotiations, and want to commend and thank the teams for their efforts. We value the input and concerns of all stakeholders - educators, students, families, employees and community members - as we work to implement the changes reflected in this agreement in an effective and collaborative manner.
Michael B. Messore III
Barrington Public Schools
283 County Road
Barrington, R.I. 02806
(401) 245-5000 ex1
(401) 245-5003 fax