The membership of the Newark Teachers Union Wednesday night voted to accept a new contract that will make the city the first school district in the state to offer teachers bonus pay based on student performance.
"The vote to ratify the Newark Teacher's Union contract is a win for teachers and unions. I salute my colleagues, all of whom had the courage to challenge the status quo and stand up for what's best for our profession - and for our students,” Joe DelGrosso, the president of the NTU, said in a statement. “We are here to serve and I look forward to working with all of our teaching professionals on this historic contract as we embark upon a new era for public education in Newark."
"Congratulations to the teachers, parent coordinators, teacher's aides, child study teams, and paraprofessionals who will benefit from the success of this contract, and especially to the students and families of Newark. We invested a tremendous amount of time and thought to these negotiations,” Superintendent Cami Anderson said in a statement.
“There was an incredibly talented team around the table and I believe that we have taken a huge step towards raising student achievement. This contract sets the stage for even more dramatic progress and I am invigorated for the implementation phase of our systemic transformation of education in Newark. As a lifelong educator, I am thrilled for our teachers here in Newark and for the teaching profession as a whole.”
A district spokesperson said about 2,800 staff took part in the vote, which was held throughout the day and into the evening, with more than 60 percent voting in favor of the contract.
The agreement -- which previously had won the support of officials in Trenton
-- will be in effect until June 30, 2015.
The contract also calls for peer review of teachers, a universal salary scale, as well as some retroactive pay for teachers who were on the payroll when the last contract expired July 1, 2010.
In addition, teachers rated "highly effective" will be eligible for up to $12,500 annually in bonus pay, including up to $5,000 for top-rated teachers in schools performing in the district's bottom 25 percent. Teachers rated "partially effective" or "ineffective" will not be entitled to an increase.
The cash for performance bonuses will come from a $100 million fund -- half of which consists of public resources and half from private philanthropy -- paid out over the course of three years. Much of the cash will come from Foundation for Newark's Future, a group overseeing a $100 million donation Newark received from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg a few years ago.
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