Middletown Schools board approves teacher contract

An early morning, emergency session meeting today by the Middletown school board saw members unanimously approve a new contract with the district's teachers union. The new labor pact, which comes after some of the most public and contentious demonstrations (pictured) in recent years, ends negotiations that began during the summer. (Photo By Michael D. Clark\Journal-News)
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An early morning, emergency session meeting today by the Middletown school board saw members unanimously approve a new contract with the district's teachers union. The new labor pact, which comes after some of the most public and contentious demonstrations (pictured) in recent years, ends negotiations that began during the summer. (Photo By Michael D. Clark\Journal-News)

By Michael D. Clark

MIDDLETOWN -- Middletown school board members and the district’s teachers union ended a contentious labor pact negotiation Tuesday, which saw recent public demonstrations and accusations of unlawful labor practices by the union.

The new, two-year agreement with the Middletown Teachers Association, which was approved during a short emergency meeting of the Middletown Board of Education, brings to an end months of contract negotiations, which included a public teacher’s rally on school grounds last month.

According to a statement released after this morning’s short board meeting and vote, the two year deal is made up of an estimated $2,500,000 in increased compensation for MTA members.

The MTA, which is made up of teachers and school counselors, will also see members receive a 3% salary increase this school year - July 1, 2021-July 1, 2022- and MTA members will receive retroactive pay.

Members will also receive a 2% increase next year with a Cost of Living Adjustment increase along with other language items.

“This agreement gives our community confidence we can work together for what’s best for our staff and students. I am proud of this administration, our school board, and our teachers’ union for coming together and reaching an agreement,” said Chris Urso, Middletown Board of Education President.

Laurie Wood, president of the MTA, stated after the board’s approval the new contract is especially important during the instability caused by the on-going coronavirus pandemic and its many impacts on the 6,300-student district.

“MTA members are proud to support the students of Middletown and meet them where they are, in positive, welcoming environments when they need it most during a pandemic that has wreaked havoc on our local community. The ratification of this contract will afford educators the opportunity to do what they do best, educate our Middie community”, said Wood.

School officials said they offered MTA two supplemental payments for December 2021 and November 2022.

The MTA compensation package includes: a 3% cost of living annual increase for this school year; a $1,000 supplemental ESSER (federal Covid relief funds) payment to MTA in December 2021: a 2% cost of living annual increase for this school year and a 1% supplemental ESSER payment to MTA in November 2022.

The MTA, which voted and approved the tentative agreement prior to Tuesday’s board vote, is made up of approximately 460 professional staff. The agreement is retroactively effective July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2023.

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