GREENWICH, Conn. -- The Greenwich Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday night to accept a contract agreement with the town's teachers union for two more years.
“The Board of Education and the Greenwich Education Association have reached an agreement for a 2015-17 contract," said Peter Sherr, chairman of the negotiations committee for the Board of Education.
"We are pleased to have achieved mutual agreement on a two-year contract that meets the financial expectations of Greenwich taxpayers and maintains our ability to attract and retain a high quality teaching staff," Sherr said.
The contract provides for a general wage increase of 0.68 percent in fiscal year 2016 and 0.88 percent in fiscal year 2017, plus a reinstated step increase based on increasing levels of teaching experience.
This allows the Greenwich schools "to compete effectively for talent with other Fairfield County communities," he said.
Although there are no major changes to health-care benefits in the contract, the purpose in agreeing to a two-year contract is based on the uncertainty of the national health-care environment, Sherr said.
Both parties would have preferred a longer contract, however, the uncertainties in planning for the long term made a two-year agreement the best path forward, he said.
The school board and the union will also create a special committee to make recommendations to optimize and maximize direct teaching time and professional collaboration in order to increase student achievement, Sherr said. The committee will present recommendations to the superintendent and the Board of Education by March.
Sherr thanked the members of the negotiation committee, the Board of Estimate and Taxation, and the town's Labor Relations Department for the work on the new contract.
"Additionally, the Board of Education appreciated the collaborative and thoughtful manner with which the GEA deliberated this contract," he said.