Under a contract deal, Newark teachers will get annual raises and also will no longer be paid based in part on their students’ test scores, according to union documents released Tuesday.
Teachers and other union members will see their salaries increase by an average of about 3.1 percent per year under the new five-year contract, which still must be approved.
The contract eliminates provisions that tied teachers’ pay to their ratings, which are based on classroom observations and student test scores. Those pay-for-performance provisions were hailed as groundbreaking when they began in 2012 under a deal between the union and Newark’s state-appointed superintendent.
Now, the district will scrap bonuses for top-rated teachers, and will no longer automatically withhold salary increases from teachers deemed ineffective. However, the district still has discretion to block pay increases for “performance and/or disciplinary reasons,” according to the union’s summary of the new contract.
“All vestiges of corporate reform have been removed,” one of the union documents says.
First contract since end of state takeover
If approved, the new contract will replace a four-year contract that expired in June. It will be the first since the state ended its takeover of the district in 2018 and a new superintendent, Roger León, was chosen by the city’s school board.
León, a veteran Newark educator, has enjoyed a warmer relationship with the teachers union than his state-appointed predecessors. Negotiations over the new contract, which resulted in a tentative deal last week, appear to have gone more quickly and smoothly than in the past.
The deal includes many provisions that are likely to please teachers, including the annual raises that begin this year, more planning time, and higher pay for teachers with advanced degrees. However, substitute teachers and classroom aides will not get modest pay increases for another two years.
The agreement also calls for the creation of a committee “to develop, implement, and monitor a new evaluation system,” according to the union documents — meaning that the district could change the way it judges teachers’ performance.
Union members will vote on the new contract Aug. 26. The Newark school board meets the following day, when it is expected to hold its own vote on the contract.