The Lacey Township Board of Education and the district's supervisors union have agreed to a three-year contract that provides for 1.99 percent pay increases for the next three years.
That contract agreement, reached in late May between the board and the Lacey Township Administrators and Supervisors Association, also caps sick day payouts for new hires and includes language regarding the state-mandated employee contributions to health care coverage.
The bargaining unit covers all supervisory titles in the district, from principals to directors, supervisors and department chairpersons.
The district's employees are in the midst of a four-year phase-in where they will eventually be contributing up to 35 percent of the cost of their health care insurance, said school board member Maureen Tirella, who was on the negotiating committee.
Not everyone will be happy with the contract, Tirella said.
"We feel we did the best we did for our employees given the hard economic times the district’s been in and for the taxpayers," she said."It’s tough times. Everybody’s always talking about costs. There’s all these costs as a taxpayer. My electricity has not gone down. My milk bill has not gone down."
But she said it was important to "try and provide a living wage to employees."
The contract provides for 1.99 percent raises effective July 1, 2012, July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014. The contract also caps unused sick day retirement payouts at 100 days for any new hires into the district. Current employees are eligible to receive payouts for up to 160 days upon retirement, under the contract.
In 2010 school district employees accepted a salary freeze at the request of Gov. Chris Christie, and Lacey was one of the districts where that happened, Tirella said. Christie had offered to increase school funding to districts where the unions agreed to salary freezes in exchange for those freezes.
The supervisory staffers were to receive raises of 3.8 and 3.95 percent in 2009 and 2010, respectively. In 2011 they were to receive 3.95 percent.
"That money is never made up to them," she said. "They never get that money back." At the same time they are making a significant contribution to their health insurance costs, she said.
All employees also had 1 percent increase in pension coverage, she said.
The employees covered by the contract had salaries ranging from about $56,000 to $135,000, according to figures available through Datauniverse.
Other items in the agreement:
- $850 longevity bonuses in years, 4, 8 and 12, up from $800 in the previous contract, and elimination of the year 2 bonus for new administrators
- Dental coverage, including a $2,000 orthodontic benefit
- Prescription co-pays of $5 on generic drugs and $10 on brand-name drugs
"There’s a great amount of increased contribution that they’ve had to pay over the years," Tirelli said. "We thank them for their commitment."