The school year is over in Newark, but a big question lingers for teachers trying to budget for summer vacations or just pay the bills: How much will they earn this fall?
Union and district officials are still hammering out a contract for next school year that will determine how much Newark’s roughly 2,700 teachers are paid and how they can qualify for annual salary increases, which currently are tied to classroom performance. It appears possible that a new agreement may not be reached before the existing one expires at the end of this month, which would freeze the current pay system in place until a replacement is approved.
“Our negotiations team has worked diligently and nonstop to try and get it done by the end of the school year, but that is looking less and less likely every day,” Newark Teachers Union President John Abeigon said in a note to members last week ahead of the final day of classes on June 20. “As long as progress is being made, we will continue to meet with the district over the summer in the hopes of coming to the settlement our members deserve.”
The district budgeted $10 million for next school year to cover the cost of new teachers and a 2.5 percent increase in teacher salaries, according to a district presentation. The average salary increase for New Jersey teachers this school year was 2.9 percent, according to a survey of contracts by the New Jersey School Boards Association.