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Local News

July 10, 2013

Peabody teachers contract approved

PEABODY — Deuces were wild as the School Committee gave a unanimous OK to a new contract with the city’s teachers, agreeing to three years of consecutive increases of 2 percent, 2 percent and 2 percent.

The agreement includes the year just past, as well as two years to come.

“It’s a fair deal for the taxpayers and a fair deal for the teachers who contribute so much to the education of our kids,” said Mayor Ted Bettencourt.

He noted that the 2 percent increases match agreements made previously with the police and fire unions. The money to pay the higher salaries has already been anticipated in the city’s budget and will not require any new appropriations.

In addition to the teachers, the board agreed to identical increases with AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers, which includes people like clerical workers, custodians and bus drivers.

There were few new wrinkles in the benefit package, the mayor said.

“The benefit changes were largely negotiated last year with changes in health coverage,” he said.

At that time, all city workers agreed to be covered by the statewide Government Insurance Commission, or GIC.

“That saved Peabody about $3 million,” Bettencourt said.

The amount of time teachers must work to gain “longevity increases” was lengthened “slightly” in the new contract, the mayor said. These come every five years and range from $350 to $4,150 after 30 years of teaching in Peabody. Slight increases in stipends for department heads were also approved.

Board member Tom Rossignol noted the work that went into the settlement.

“I’d just like to thank the negotiating team,” he said.

Those on the team included school department lawyer Donald Conn, committee members Dave McGeney, Jarrod Hochman and Dave Charest, with Superintendent Joe Mastrocola and Assistant Superintendent Cara Murtagh helping out.

Mastrocola praised the work of teachers union President Bruce Nelson and his fellow negotiators.

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