After 16 months, the Board of Education and the teachers union have reached a tentative settlement on the – on their first night of having a fact finder from the state visit.
The fact-finding session occurred Tuesday night and the teachers rallied outside beforehand.
According to Mark Zucker, who is the chairman of the Millburn Board of Education’s negotiations team, the board and the union have signed a memorandum of agreement in which they “compromised on the language issue, provided a salary increase in line with what was provided to the non-aligned employees and to the MASA staff members, and provided a one time non-pensionable payment to compensate the MEA members for increased out of pocket health care expenses incurred during the period July 1, 2011 until April 1, 2012.”
At Monday’s school board meeting, in a discussion about the one-time payment for MASA and non-aligned employees, it was mentiond that payment was approximately $1,750 per person.
said that as a result of this agreement, the membership will not need to provide receipts to prove their excess out-of-pocket expenses in order to be reimbursed but will instead receive an additional sum of money.
Lois Infanger, president of the MEA, said the two sides reached a settlement late on Tuesday night but the details still need to be presented to and voted on by the rest of the union members. Infanger said she could not discuss the matter until the ratification vote takes place.
Zucker, however said, “because we have not yet reached an agreement with respect to the salary guide, the cannot yet bring the document to the membership for ratification. We have not brought the proposed contract to the rest of the Board.”
The negotiations were handled by Zucker, board president Michael Birnberg and board member Sam Levy.
“We believe that this agreement represents a fair and equitable resolution to the problem and hope that the teachers will see likewise,” Zucker said. “We all recognize that the past few months have been stressful for the teachers, the Board, and (most importantly) for the students.”
Recently Infanger said that while the negotiations have been stressful for the teachers, they have still and kept the students’ best interests at heart.
The negotiations were long and drawn out, Infanger has said, because the BOE changed the t without negotiating and they left the the table. The two sides reached and early impasse and a mediator was brought in but unable to help the two sides reach an agreement -- that's when the state sent in a fact-finder
Millburn Schools Superintendent James Crisfield called the settlement “good news.”