The school board for the Princeton Public Schools voted unanimously on Tuesday night to approve a pact with teachers that will extent their contract another two years.
At a special meeting at 6:45 p.m. that was not televised, the board voted 8-0 to approve the deal that gives teachers a 2.63 percent raise for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years. Board members Evelyn Spann and Fern Spruill were absent.
Superintendent of Schools Steve Cochrane said the 2.63 percent raise is in line with the county average for public school districts. He added that the agreement maintains a shared savings agreement for health benefits.
“For me the extension is an opportunity for all of us in the district to stay focused on meaningful learning,” Cochrane said. “It is a celebration of trust, partnership and a shared vision for what is right for students and the community. I could not be more grateful to the teachers and leadership that enabled this to happen.”
School Board President Patrick Sullivan, who led the negotiations team for the board during the last contract dispute, which was a bitter battle between the board and the union, commended the union for reaching out to the board to work on an agreement in a “quick and amicable way.”
“Any issues were resolved quickly and there was no rancor at all,” he said, commending the teacher and administration leadership for focusing on the needs of children in the district. “Many mutually agreed upon improvements are coming from teachers themselves,” he said. “It’s a new and exciting day.”
Dafna Kendal, the vice president of the school board, ran for election on a platform that called for improving communication between teachers and the board. As part of the negotiating team for the contract extension, she called the deal a win for the community.
“It is important to everyone at this table that we nurture the relationship with the PREA. I’m glad to have been part of the team that negotiated this two-year contract extension so that we all can focus on what really matters — our children,” she said.
“As leaders, our children are always watching (us),” Kendal said, adding that teachers, the board and administration need to conduct discussions with civility because students will emulate them.