Westford's teachers' union, the Westford Education Association, is reporting this hour that they have ratified a new contract by what they are saying was a substantial majority.
Now the contract goes to the School Committee for their ratification, with the two sides coming to the tentative agreement last week shortly after
“Recognizing that these are difficult financial times for many local residents, our members agreed to accept an extremely frugal contract,” said Ruth Freeman, outgoing president of the Westford Education Association. “We hope that these sacrifices are acknowledged and remembered when the economy improves and we are back at the table.”
Under the new agreement, teachers will drop their prohibited practice charge against the district for failing to give teachers previously negotiated step increases and will receive no step increase in the first year of the contract.
According to a release from the WEA, there will also be no raises for the first two years of the contract, but a one percent raise in the third year of the contract will be given.
Teachers will also see a step increase reinstated in the second year of the contract, and a step increase at the beginning and the end of the third year.
The agreement also includes changes in sick leave, family medical leave, length of the school year, staff meeting schedule, longevity pay, and will provide increases in reimbursements and conference stipends.
“The taxpayers in Westford are saving a lot of money under this agreement, especially when added on top of the reductions in health insurance benefits we previously negotiated,” said Mary McCusker, an active member of the WEA bargaining team. “We have tightened our belts in the hopes and expectation that the town will support our schools in ways that are good for students and fair to teachers in the future.”