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Norwich School Board OKs Two-Year Agreement With Teachers

The Norwich School Board has unanimously approved a two-year teachers’ contract that includes a 2.25 pay raise in each year, as well as an increased co-pay for health insurance.

The 2.25 percent increase includes step increases, meaning that there will be an overall increase of 2.25 percent in each year of the contract but actual increases could be higher depending on years of service.

The current teachers’ contract expires June 30. Under that agreement, teachers received a 1 percent base salary increase in the first year and 2 percent in the second year.

The new contract also includes a 1 percent increase in employee contributions for health insurance during each year of the contract. The current 14 percent co-pay will rise to 15 percent in the first year and 16 percent in the second.

Teachers will also see a decrease in personal days from five to four. The new contract also contains a limit of five professional days while the previous contract had no limit.

Another provision of the new agreement is refined language on the use of banking sick days. Each year, teachers are given 15 sick days and they have the option of placing three of them in a sick bank for other teachers to use in case of a medical need. The agreement states that all teachers will be notified of when and who is taking days out of the sick bank.

Negotiations began in October and went rather smoothly, said Carolyn Keck, co-president of the Norwich Teachers Association.

“I think there was a lot of give and take,” Keck said. “It was actually very gratifying that we all wanted the same thing, to have a contract that everyone was happy about and didn’t break the bank and was respectful of teachers.”

In Vermont, teacher contracts are included in the overall budget and not voted on as a separate article. The budget will be voted on in March.

Norwich has historically been supportive of teacher contracts and school budgets, said School Board Chairman Neil Odell. Keck added that during her 12 years as a teacher at Marion Cross School, she has never seen a budget fail.

Sarah Brubeck can be reached at sbrubeck@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.