HO-HO-KUS – The school district has announced an agreement with its teachers' union, which provides for pay increases of 2.5% per annum, an easing of state-mandated contributions for health care and a extension of the students' contact time.

Teachers have been working without an updated contract since July 2018. The school district officials have recently made an agreement with about 70 members of the Ho-Ho-Kus Education Association for a new four-year contract until the end of the year. in June 2022.

"We were able to propose a contract that meets the needs of all the district's stakeholders," said Mary Ellen Nye, Chair of the Education Council. "In each of these [contract] years, there are salary increases and reduced teacher contributions to health. "

The first year, the current 2018-2019 school year, the salary increase will be 2.4%. The next three years will see an increase of 2.5%.

The agreement also provides for an increase of 20 minutes per week per teacher of students' contact time. This extra time will make scheduling easier and offer different types of courses, especially at the college level, said Nye. The district is from kindergarten to grade 8.

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The agreement with the HEA also provides for relief for Chapter 78 contributions.

In 2011, Chapter 78 legislation came into force, requiring employees to pay a percentage of their health insurance premium, ranging from 3% to 35%, depending on various factors. District teachers in New Jersey said the law sometimes canceled contract increases.

According to the New Jersey Education Association, the law "sets up a series of events that would ultimately reduce the net pay of public service employees."

Mr Nye said the agreement provided for relief, but that it is one of the first to include a limit because it is impossible to predict premium changes for years at the time of the year. ;advanced.

"In Ho-Ho-Kus, our agreement limits the reductions under Chapter 78. They are not open," said Nye. "We needed to make sure we did not increase our exposure to risk in terms of health benefits costs, while meeting the needs of our teachers."

Ho-Ho-Kus teachers attended a board meeting in December, dressed in red shirts, to draw attention to the status of members' contracts. That evening, spokesman Terry Buskar said that they were present "to settle a fair contract".

"While the lengthy confidential negotiation process was frustrating for the public at times, the Board thanks the members of the HEA Bargaining Team for their efforts and professionalism as we work together to meet the needs of all stakeholders in our organization. district, "said a statement posted on the site. neighborhood read.