Superintendent and union head both say teachers are being understandably cautious about new contract

By John Mooney

As Newark’s landmark teachers contract begins to be implemented, only about 20 percent of district teachers who can opt to earn bonuses for exemplary evaluations and service in hard-to-fill slots have actually decided to do so.

“Opt” is the key word here. New teachers and those with only bachelor’s degrees are automatically enrolled in the program — defined in a new salary guide — which pays up to $12,500 in yearly bonuses.

Under the groundbreaking Newark contract, however, teachers with advanced degrees — about half of the city’s teaching force — can choose to stay with the traditional salary guide, which rewards teachers according to experience and academic degree.

With the last of the selections completed at the start of the new year, district officials said this week that roughly 80 percent of those who could stayed with the traditional guide.


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