HARWICH - After eight months, the teachers in the Monomoy Regional School District have a ratified contract agreement.
The announcement came during Tuesday night’s school committee meeting, the only local meeting not canceled due to inclement weather, with a unanimous vote of approval from the school committee affirming the agreement.
The new agreement, which is retroactively effective July 1 and expires June 30, 2021, included 2 percent salary increases for each of its three years, as well as changes to benefits and work hours and officially returns the Jawsome Hour to the schedule at Monomoy Regional High School.
The 25-minute block had a trial run during the 2017-2018 school year with success but was removed from the school schedule when a contract agreement couldn’t be reached before the start of the current school year, since it was not a formal part of the previous contract agreement. Students will now be able to use the block for academic assistance or enrichment and to serve detention.
Under the new agreement, teachers in the Monomoy district will have expanded healthcare options that school committee member Nancy Scott said, “could benefit both [teachers] and the district financially.”
The plan also includes incentives for employees that choose to voluntarily transfer from PPO plans to HMO or high deductible plans, as well as a one-time incentive for employees to transfer from a plan offered by the district through the Cape Cod Municipal Health Group to a non-district, non-town of Chatham or Harwich plan.
Teachers will receive a 2 percent increase on all salaries and stipends for the 2018-2019 school year, as well as another 2 percent increase in the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. According to the agreement, lump sum longevity payments based on years of service will also be made, with teachers working 16-20 years receiving $800, 21-25 years $1,000, 26-30 years $1,200, and 30-plus years $1,600.
It was also agreed that the workdays of teachers not exceed six hours and 55 minutes at the elementary, middle and high school levels, and that workdays shall not begin before 7:30 a.m. or after 8:45 a.m. Currently the start times in the Monomoy district are 7:45 a.m. at the elementary level, and 8:45 a.m. at the middle and high school.
Memorandum of Agreement between the school committee and the Monomoy Regional Education Association (MREA) states that “class size is an important factor,” and that the committee and the MREA “will strive whenever possible” to limit class sizes to no more than 23 students per class in grades K-7, no more than 30 students per class in unified arts from K-12, and no more than 20 per class, with a maximum 100-student load, in grades 8-12. Kindergarten classrooms will also be assigned a half-time aide, with classrooms having 18 or more students being assigned a full-time aide.
Extensive revisions to the handbook included updates to the grading system, which allows up to 10 days for grades to be posted following an assignment’s completion, lesson plans, social media use, and the requirement of teacher web pages on district websites.
Scott referred to the agreement as one “we think we can be proud of,” while committee member Terry Russell said that “even though it was difficult and challenging through all these months, I think it was worthwhile.”
MREA President Cheri Armstrong was also pleased with the outcome.
“We are very grateful for the support we received from our students, their families, and the community,” she said.