Deer Park teachers and administrators overwhelmingly approved a new three-year contract which will take effect this school year.
The Deer Park school board were expected to ratify the contract on Wednesday.
Unlike the case in previous years, the majority of the contract provisions were approved before the school year ended, according to a district official.
“I think it showed a spirit and a willingness on the part of both sides to get things done,” said Bob Griffin, a special services coordinator with the Deer Park School District.
The contract starts on Sept. 1 and expires at the end of the 2000 school year.
Here are some of the contract’s highlights:
Teachers will receive a 3 percent cost of living adjustment for this year. The average teacher in the district last year earned about $36,500.
Teachers will get a fourth per diem day for curriculum development.
Service training sessions will be available for teachers during school days. The sessions will be for teachers seeking further instruction on how to work with disabled and at-risk youths.
Teachers at the elementary level can receive an extra $12.50 per day in salary for teaching one to three students above their maximum class sizes.
An extra $15 per day is available for teachers with four or five students above normal class sizes.
Teachers at the secondary level will get an extra $2.50 per class period for one to three students above the maximum class size and an extra $3 per class period for four or five students above the maximum.
Teachers not wishing to instruct larger classes will be eligible for a teaching assistant in the classroom.
School district officials expect 1,727 students to be enrolled in classes this fall. The district has 108 full-time certified staff members, which includes teachers.
The contract also allows educators more flexibility for creating pilot programs. Griffin said the provision was designed to allow teachers to find new and inventive ways to instruct students.
Keith Reilly, the lead negotiator for the Deer Park Education Association, said contract discussions were “far reaching. Everything in the contract was open for discussion,” Reilly said.
He said two retreats taken by the negotiating teams proved to be valuable.
“The retreats did what hours of meetings could not accomplish. There were less time constraints, so we could discuss issues very thoroughly,” he said.
Reilly said negotiations were “sometimes confrontational,” but he praised school district negotiators for being willing to listen to teachers’ concerns.
The negotiating teams hammered out an agreement through the mail and at an education association meeting late last month, Reilly said.