4-year teachers contract approved in Jersey Shore Area

JERSEY SHORE — The Jersey Shore Area Board Board voted 8-1 to approve a new teachers contract Monday night after being without one since July 1, 2015.

President of the Jersey Shore Area Education Association Brad Williamson said the three main points that were negotiated were wages, health care and retirement.

Under the new agreement, employees under the four-year contact will receive around a 3 percent pay increase per year, a total increase of 12 percent over that duration, he said.

For health care, there is a new option for a high-deductible plan that the district will contribute to for the teachers, he said.

With the previous contract, teachers could begin receiving retirement benefits at the age of 50. With the new one they must be 53 years old to get them, Williamson said. Those benefits will continue throughout their retirement.

He said the association wanted to make the numbers work for its members, the district and the taxpayers.

Voting yes were David Hines, Karen Stover, Kelley Wasson, Craig Allen, Denise Smith, Christopher Fravel, Loren Koch and Mary Thomas. Merrill Sweitzer voted no.

The board also approved a parameter resolution with its independent financial adviser, Public Financial Management, in regard to the refinancing of its $9.95 million 2012 bond.

The resolution will allow financial adviser Jamie Doyle to put the bond up for auction whenever the market reaches the district’s savings threshold of 2 percent or $193,100 rather than waiting for board approval to act.

The board president and secretary will approve the winning bidder.

The bond will be paid off in 2029.

It voted 8-1 to start a sixth-grade Prentice Hall math curriculum pilot for around $9,800.

The new curriculum will be taught to half of the sixth-graders to see if it helps them with math language skills better than the current Everyday Mathematics curriculum the sixth-grade teachers already use, Jersey Shore Area Middle School principal Laura Milarch said.

She said she and the teachers want to see better math test scores and to prepare the students to enter high school.

There will be progress monitoring tools and benchmarks that will tell the teachers whether the new curriculum has been beneficial for the students, she said.

Voting yes were Hines, Wasson, Stover, Sweitzer, Koch, Allen, Fravel and Smith. Thomas voted no.

It also approved a 96-by-48 inch Jersey Shore Area High School baseball sign for the field costing the district $360.

The next school board meeting is 7 p.m. Nov. 14 at the district service center, 175 A&P Drive.