Most teachers are good and need to be paid and the pay should be reasonable. However, the deal the BOE made is not good for taxpayers. Teachers get raises via a step increase system just by showing up for work and / or passing additional graduate school courses. So the 2.75% increase each year for the next three is bump up on top of a raise. We are in a low inflationary period so this is a very good deal for teachers and not so great for taxpayers. The health care costs are slowly coming to parody with the rest of the labor market and this fair. This part of the contract helps taxpayers some what. However, the plan designs are locked in for three years. The contract does not do enough to protect taxpayers from what are likely to be health care premium increases over the next three years. The teachers still get a great defined benefit retirement plan with the taxpayers paying significantly into it. The teachers still get health care in retirement that will have to be paid for by future taxpayers. Also, we have no merit pay system in this contract and we the taxpayers are lacking in a linking pay to performance in this contract. In West Orange average property tax bills are about $12,000 per year and average household income is about $90,000.00 per year. The teachers contract is a big driver of costs for the taxpayers and needs to be addressed in a better way. So this contract shoulb be viewed as a bad deal for the taxpayers. As the BOE could not tell me the average or mean salary and benefits for a teacher before the vote on the contract when I asked at the BOE meeting before the contract was voted on, I suspect cost analysis for the taxpayers was not done before the fact or it was done in an sloppy way. The BOE should have held out for a better deal.
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