Brewer teachers ratify new 3-year contract

Posted Feb. 12, 2011, at 2:29 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — After working without a contract since September, teachers within the Brewer School Department on Thursday ratified a new three-year contract, Superintendent Daniel Lee said.

“Year one is zero change — no change in the staff salary schedule,” he said. “Year two there is no change in the salary schedule, but everyone in the top step, who would not normally get a raise, will get $1,200.”

Many of the department’s 135 teachers qualify for this extra money, Lee said.

“The third year, it’s 2.5 percent [raise] across the board,” he said, adding that teachers also will “pick up 2 more percent of their [health] insurance” costs if they have dependents.

The school district now pays for 77 percent of the cost of dependant care, and that number will drop to 75 percent in the third year of the teacher contract, said Amy Reif, president of the Brewer Education Association and a third-grade teacher at Washington Street School.

School administrators and the Brewer Education Association have been working on a new contract for teachers since January 2010. Teacher contracts for Brewer traditionally have been for three years, but in 2009 Brewer was still wrestling with consolidation and a one-year contract was signed that included a 1 percent raise.

The Brewer School Committee on Monday endorsed the proposed contract 4-1. School board member Calvin Bubar was the lone dissenter. The draft contract was then sent to BEA members.

The school board in December extended the contract for the school department’s nonteaching staff for a year with no changes.

The negotiations over the teachers contract were amicable and professional, Lee said.

“I don’t think either side is happy with this agreement, but it’s the best they can do,” he said. “What it does do is give some stability over the department for the next couple of years,” which will help with budgeting.

“We think that’s important,” Lee said.

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