School board and union reach tentative agreement to extend Princeton teachers’ contract two more years

The school board for the Princeton Public Schools and the teachers’ union have reached a tentative agreement that would extend the current contract two more years, school officials said. The extension of the contract avoids a potential repeat of the turmoil that accompanied negotiations in the last contract dispute.

“Instead of negotiations next year we can focus on our strategic plan,” Cochrane said. “The next step is to agree on a salary guide, and how increases will be distributed. The board and the union are meeting again next week.”

Delaying contract negotiations also allows for officials to see what direction a new governor’s administration goes in in terms of school funding and spending caps.

The contract will be extended through 2020, Superintendent of Schools Steve Cochrane said. The last contract was ratified in June of 2015. The four-year contract was set to expire on June 30 of 2018.

Teachers received the following salary increases as part of the contract:

Year 1 – A salary increases of 2.66 percent, retroactive to July 1 of 2014

Year 2 – A 2.67 percent increase

Year 3 – A 2.50 percent increase

Year 4 – A 2.63 percent increase

Longevity pay will be eliminated in year four (2017-18) of the new contract and will be incorporated into a new step system going forward.

The agreement included increases in the stipends paid to teachers for extra services like coaching or being the advisers of student clubs. There was no increase for the 2014-15 school year. The increase for year two was 2.5 percent. For this school year and next year, the increase is 2.25 percent a year.

Teachers who subscribe to the district’s health care benefits program are receiving annual health care stipends. Under the agreement, teachers continue to make health care contributions at the tier 4 level under Chapter 78 of New Jersey state law, an item the teachers’ union had vehemently opposed.