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NTU membership overwhelmingly ratify new contract agreement!

Newark teachers, clerks and aides today voted by an overwhelming majority to ratify a new four-year contract going back to July 1, 2015 and forward through June 30, 2019. “We are proud to see our members’ hard work and commitment to Newark’s students recognized with pay raises to help them catch up after years of state-imposed austerity and increased health insurance costs,” said Newark Teachers Union President John M. Abeigon. “We always wish we could get better for teachers who have given so much to the children in so many ways and continue to advocate for the best possible learning conditions in their schools including a return to full local control of Newark Public Schools.”

Abeigon said members will receive an annual average salary increase of 2.43 percent between 2015 through 2019. “It breaks down to one percent retroactive for the past year, 2.8 percent for this year and 2.95 percent for next year,” he said. “For the final year of the contract, we agreed to a 2.95 increase, with the possibility to reopen and bargain up to 3.25 percent.”

Salary guides for veteran teachers increased so those who have been in the district for decades will see increases, but the newly ratified contract also gets new teachers to $60,000 in less years, according to Abeigon.  “That milestone is an incentive to attract quality new teachers and keep the district competitive in hiring.”

One-time $5,000 bonuses will be paid to teachers rated “highly-effective” during this current school year. The bonuses may or may not be made available by the district in coming years.

According to Newark Teachers Union Secretary Treasurer Michael Iovino, the contract offers additional flexibility in taking personal days in half-day increments. Iovino, a lead history teacher at Technology High School said, “We know our teachers would rather be in the classroom than anywhere else, so this new provision allows us to take care of our personal responsibilities with a minimum of disruption to classroom learning.”

Elementary school teachers will get an additional guaranteed 50-minute class prep period under the new contract. “In the old days, there was the false impression that elementary school teachers did not need time for lesson planning and that they merely deliver standardized curriculums,” said Iovino. “Our teachers know their students best and time to plan customized lessons for them is as critical in elementary school as it is for those of us in the high schools. Additionally, the new agreement will allow teachers more time to participate in professional development opportunities to improve their teaching.”

Iovino also invoked the “Fight for $15” for aides in the district who have been making $14 per hour and will see wages rise to $15 next year. “This is a fairness issue and we felt it was important for the lowest paid among our members to see this basic improvement.”

The Newark Teachers Union represents more than 3,500 teachers, classroom aides and clerks. Learn more at

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