June 20, 2014 (Newark) – Newark Public Schools (NPS) and the Newark Public School Nurses, represented by the NTA, a local affiliate of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) announced today that they have signed a new contract for school nurses. School Nurses ratified the contract making this the second contract that NPS has negotiated that ties salary increases to annual performance ratings.
Under the new contract school nurses, like teachers, will be rated along a four-point scale – highly-effective, effective, partially-effective, and ineffective; only nurses rated highly-effective or effective will earn a salary increase. Nurses rated ineffective are not eligible to receive an increase and their current salary level will remain frozen until a higher rating is achieved.
This contract honors and rewards the tremendous work of high-performing nurses and reflects the district’s commitment to the health and safety of its students and school communities. A forthcoming framework for effective school nurses will set the standards and also serve as a roadmap for those who need to improve. Professional development opportunities and other supports will be aligned to the framework.
“We must focus on the social, emotional, and physical health of our students in order for them to excel academically. Our school nurses are essential partners in creating healthy and safe school environments so our children can learn,” Newark Schools Superintendent Cami Anderson said. “We believe this contract values the hard work they do each day, while also providing them with the clear, consistent and professional standards they need to be their best.”
For their invaluable work over the last few years when they served without a contract, school nurses will be compensated with a one-time non-pensionable special payment of $3,500 to $12,000, based on their current salary scale and step. They will also receive retroactive pay reflecting their salary increases for school years 2012-13 and 2013-14.
NTA president, Joyce McCree, added, “We feel that this agreement puts our nurses on a level field with the teachers they work alongside to provide our students the care and opportunities they deserve.”
The 120 school nurses who work throughout the district are responsible for student and family health counseling, providing medical referrals, participating in child study teams, and providing on-site health services such as administering medication and emergency care to students. All NPS school nurses have a minimum bachelor’s degree, are registered nurses, and have NJDOE School Nurse certifications. Every school building has at least one full-time school nurse that is supported by certified nurse’s aides (CNA) and licensed practical nurses (LPN).
“I am pleased that we will receive the retroactive payments during the summer months,” said Mercedes Chimento, an NPS school nurse. “Our contract is comparable to the teacher’s contract. This will support our working relationship with the district.”