Newark Teachers Ratify New Four-Year Contract With Newark Public Schools, Solidifying Progressive Reforms

New contract provides new salary increases for NTU members and builds on reforms established in groundbreaking 2012 agreement

[Newark, NJ – May 15, 2017] Newark Public Schools (NPS) announced today that teachers have ratified a new four-year contract spanning the 2015-2016 to 2018-2019 school years. This contract provides salary increases for all Newark teachers, clerks, and aides, as well as more time for professional development and collaboration for Newark teachers. The new contract also sustains all of the key elements of the 2012 contract that made Newark’s collective bargaining agreement one of the most progressive in the country.

The contract passed with overwhelming support – garnering 86% approval, with almost 1600 members voting.

“We are pleased to announce this exciting contract with the Newark Teachers Union,” said Superintendent Christopher D. Cerf of Newark Public Schools. “Thanks to the collaborative spirit between the NTU and the district, we reached an agreement that will help sustain Newark’s forward progress for years to come. Our teachers are at the heart of our organization, working tirelessly every day to provide high quality instruction for our students. This agreement cements Newark’s educators and education workers as national role models and innovators, and most importantly honors the important work that they do in service of Newark students.”

The salary increases for all NTU members are also coupled with an increase for all per diem teacher aides who, by the end of the contract, will be making $15/hour to match the growing movement to increase the living wage for hourly employees across the nation. The negotiated salary increases are extremely competitive with other districts across the state, with members receiving an average salary increase of 2.43% from 2015 through 2019. These raises will help Newark recruit new teachers and retain high quality educators by providing pay that is more competitive with surrounding districts.

In addition, the contract recognizes the need for more professional development and collaboration in an environment where educators are expected to provide more rigorous and differentiated instruction, and analyze data to make informed decisions about student needs. The new agreement provides educators with more time and flexibility to plan, more opportunities for professional development and collaboration across content areas, grade levels and schools, including:

  • More preparation time for elementary school teachers each week
  • More professional development time for all teachers each month
  • More time to prepare for the school year at the beginning of the year

“Our teachers, clerks, and aides sit at the very core of the work we do in service of students in Newark,” said Larisa Shambaugh, Chief Talent Officer of Newark Public Schools. “This new contract sends a message about the value these educators provide—not just through competitive raises but through designing a school day, work, and year that allow for a culture of collaboration and development.”

The new contract also sustains the key elements of the groundbreaking 2012 contract that shifted the paradigm in Newark Public Schools. In 2012, NPS became the first school district in the state to provide financial incentives to teachers in recognition of outstanding classroom performance. These continued provisions include:

  • Performance Bonuses: NPS will continue to reward great teachers with performance bonuses. Teachers who are paid on the Universal Salary Scale and receive a Highly Effective rating on the Annual Summative Evaluation will receive a $5,000 bonus.
  • Pay-for-Performance: NPS will maintain the current structure for earning raises, where educators must earn a step on their salary scale based on their evaluation rating.
  • Extended Learning Time: Under this new contract, schools that currently have extended learning time will maintain it and the opportunity will be available to other interested schools.

Over the past four years the district’s efforts to attract and retain its highest performing educators have been successful – 96% of all Highly Effective teachers stayed in the district from last year to this year alone. The new contract builds on the core provisions that made these retention efforts successful.

The new contract is also fiscally responsible at a time when the district is facing fiscal pressures, securing savings for both educators and the district—through changes in medical and prescription options, for example— to ensure that NPS is able to sustain educator raises and bonuses for the long-term.