By Kathryn Menu
The Bridgehampton School Board approved a new contract with its teachers union earlier this month following two years of negotiations.
The contract between the district and the Bridgehampton Teachers Association, which was signed on May 4, is a five-year deal retroactive to June 1, 2013. It expires on June 30, 2018.
According to Superintendent Dr. Lois Favre, the union agreed to a wage freeze for the first two years of the contract, which have already passed, and will receive a 0.5-percent increase for 2015-16 and 2016-17. The contract allows for a 0.75-percent increase in 2017-18.
Step increases, pay in addition to a teacher’s salary based on the educator’s level of experience, will also increase by roughly 2 percent. Teachers who are no longer eligible for Step increases due to longevity within the district will also receive compensation, according to the memorandum of agreement. Those with 21 to 24 years in the district will receive $650; teachers with 25 to 29 years in the district will be paid $1,200 and those with 30 or more years in the district will receive $1,700.
According to Dr. Favre, contributions to individual and family health insurance plans have also increased under the contract. For the previous 2013-14 and 2014-15 years, those eligible for health insurance contributed 12 percent of their premiums. For 2015-16, that will increase to 14 percent and for 2016-17 to a 16-percent contribution.
Contract negotiations began in 2013.
“The negotiation process was long, due to some difficulty in coordinating schedules for all to be at the table—but was respectful and both sides were negotiating in good faith,” said Dr. Favre.
The teachers’ union president, Helen Wolfe, did not return a request for comment.