Finance Committee Reviews the Bedford Education Association Teacher Contract

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By Lizzie Seibert

Bedford School Superintendent Jon Sills presented details about the School Department’s recently negotiated contract with Bedford’s Educators Association at the Finance Committee’s May 25 meeting. The contract will include cost of living adjustments (COLA), with increases of 2% in 2018, 2.5% in 2019, and 2% in 2020, as well as an additional professional day per year.

Sills explained that the new COLA means that the median of Bedford’s teacher’s salaries fall in the mid-range of comparable districts, which helps Bedford stay competitive in recruiting. The 3-year impact of this negotiation is $3.15 million, which Sills said is still too low to recruit the highest level teachers, and instead puts Bedford in a “second ring of applicants.”

While Bedford’s teacher’s salaries are in the median for teachers, it is still in the bottom for professions that require master’s degrees.

When the Finance Committee expressed annoyance that the COLA is higher than they anticipated, Sills responded that the salaries would be a line item in the school’s budget and could be balanced with opportunities to offset the salary increase.

To close out Fiscal Year 2017, the Finance Committee will continue discussing potential changes in how to use free cash. Free cash and Bedford’s unused tax levy will be voted on at Special Town Meeting this fall.

FinCom’s next meeting is June 29.