LINCOLN â€“ The School Committee and the Lincoln Teachers' Association have reached an agreement on a three-year pact covering 2012, 2013 and 2014 after a series of negotiating sessions that included both sides' attorneys and the assistance of a mediator.
The agreement will give teachers 2-percent pay raises in each of the latter two years of the pact.
Superintendent of Schools Georgia Fortunato noted that the sessions lasted well past midnight and into the next morning to reach the settlement ratified by the parties this past week.
â€śThe end result is an agreement that incorporates extended classroom time for children, additional collaboration and planning time for teachers, and cost savings to the district,â€ť Fortunato said.
The district's teachers felt â€śstronglyâ€ť that the additional planning time would benefit students and pointed out that available time during lunch and recess periods could be allotted to weekly planning time for teachers on an alternating basis.
The school district's negotiating team sought additional instructional time in the school day and also additional school days during the school year, even while keeping costs within available funding limits, according to Fortunato.
â€śThe parties worked collaboratively to reach an agreement that addressed the needs of both sides and most importantly benefits the students,â€ť she added.
Mary Anne Roll, a member of the Lincoln School Committee, termed the agreement a â€śreal win-winâ€ť for the parties.
The pact will also allow a reduction in the number of department heads at Lincoln High School from 11 to 8 for a district savings of $62,142, according to Fortunato.
Other terms of the contract include:
* Establishes 182 instructional days for all students.
* Increases the instructional day to 6 hours and 40 minute for all students.
* Implements the Rhode Island Model Teacher Evaluation System.
* Incorporates Rhode Island Department of Education-mandated requirements for teacher assignments, layoffs, and transfers.
* Increases health and dental co-shares to 16 percent in the last year of the contract.
Fred Hoppe, president of the Lincoln Teachers' Association, commended his peers for their â€śprofessionalism and patienceâ€ť through the long negotiating process. The contract is a reflection of the continuing commitment between the Lincoln Teachers' Association (LTA) and the Lincoln School Committee to find â€ścreative, fiscally prudent solutions to meet the needs of all parties.â€ť The LTA looks forward, he said, to the implementation of the District Technology Plan which will give â€śour teachers the resources they need to meet the technological needs of all our students.â€ť