In a 4-1-2 vote Monday night, the proposed teachers' contract recently approved by the Westford Education Association was also ratified by the Westford School Committee, making the contract now official.
"(This) allows us to move forward and get back to the business of educating kids,” said School Committee chairwoman Angela Harkness, who joined School Committee members Erica Kohl, Margaret Murray and Terence Ryan in voting to confirm the contract.
Harkness thanked the public and the classroom teachers for getting through the difficult year of contract negotiations. She asked the public for their continued support when discussing finances in the upcoming years.
Judy Culver abstained from voting due to her daughter’s job as a teacher in Westford. David Keele was the lone dissenting vote due to the addition of a third year to the contract, added so that the contract would be more palatable to teachers thereby breaking the stalemate.
“There’s tremendous economic uncertainty. Placing the third year component (in the contract) puts us in an unenviable position," argued Keele. "We are placing ourselves in a situation where we will be facing significant cuts. Because of that I will not support this contract."
School Committee member Arthur Benoit was not in attendance.
The contract was approved as negotiationes resumed following an earlier contract agreement that was not ratified by the teachers' union .