BREWER, Maine — With an uncertain economic future, Brewer school leaders decided they only wanted to look one year into the future when negotiating teacher contracts, which the teachers union endorsed resoundingly on Wednesday.
Teachers have a new one-year contract that includes a 1 percent raise, Amy Reif, Brewer Education Association president and third-grade teacher at Washington Street School, said Thursday.
The vote “wasn’t unanimous, but it was fairly overwhelming,” she said. “The large majority were in favor of it.”
Teachers understand that these are trying times, she said. Superintendent Daniel Lee, who was in Augusta last week at the annual superintendents and school board conference, said the news is not good for school systems statewide.
“There is a lot of financial uncertainly,” Lee said. “We just don’t know.”
With huge state budget shortfalls in Augusta, and projected cuts in local education funding, school leaders are glad they were able to provide a raise, he said.
“We think is this best we can do at this point in time,” Lee said. “We have great teachers and wanted to do something, but the future is so uncertain.”
The Brewer School Committee endorsed the teachers contract at a special meeting Monday, contingent on the BEA endorsing it.
Teacher contracts for Brewer, which recently have been for three years, expired at the end of August. Negotiations for the new contract endorsed this week began in February.
“Unfortunately, we’ll be back in the spring” for the next round of contract negotiations, Reif said.