Litchfield Voters Approve Three-Year Contract for Litchfield Professional Staff

Voters Support Litchfield School District agreement with Litchfield Education Association

November 1, 2019

 

courtesy of Litchfield School District

After voters rejected a negotiated agreement last March, the Litchfield School Board and the Litchfield Education Association, an affiliate of NEA-NH, set about trying to find common ground that was responsive to the voice of the voters.  Both parties felt it was important to find a pathway forward that would ensure teachers advanced on salary steps so the district could retain and attract high-quality professionals.

After engaging in hard negotiations from March until June, the parties reached a new agreement that is fair to teachers, counselors, nurses, librarians and other professional staff who plan and implement the myriad of educational programs for the children of Litchfield.  Working together, the renegotiated agreement shaved over a quarter of a million dollars (over 23%) off the total three-year cost of the failed agreement.  On Aug. 30, The Honorable Charles S. Temple of the Hillsborough Southern District Superior Court found an emergency existed for the Litchfield School District and granted a petition to hold a special school district election on Oct. 29.  Last night, Litchfield voters supported the board’s and association’s efforts by a vote of 624 to 520.

According to Brian Bourque, Litchfield School Board chairperson, “We are grateful to our community for supporting the teachers and school board members with this new agreement.”  Ryan Keller, president of the LEA, said, “While we are disappointed the March contract was not supported, the LEA is happy we could come to an agreement, through considerable concessions, on this renegotiated contract.  We are truly thankful for the town’s support.”

The main details of the agreement are:

  • The agreement is for three years (2019-2022).
  • A shift in healthcare insurance from a no-deductible plan to a plan that includes deductibles. By shifting to a consumer-driven plan, both parties expect to realize long-term savings with our healthcare dollars.
  • The agreement will cost $256,581 in the first year, $294,278 in the second year, and $303,872 in the third year. These costs include salary increases for all staff members, and a $90 increase in longevity in the 3rd year of the agreement for our most experienced staff.
  • Language clarifications that will review all co-curricular activities and athletics, better define the start and end time of the work day, an ability to start school earlier in the year, and compensation for teachers who teach additional classes due to the shortage of available substitute teachers.

Superintendent Mike Jette acknowledged that “Litchfield is a great community that supports strong public schools.  This agreement will bring even greater stability and harmony to our district efforts to grow and improve.”