However, board members also expressed concerns about the new contract, in part because of the increased price tag. The borough estimated that there would be a budget deficit of approximately $10.4 million over the next school year if it maintained the same level of services. As part of the expiry of the contract, the borough paid approximately $345 million in salaries and benefits to members of the teachers` union. The district`s total budget for the current school year is approximately $565 million. Monday`s board meeting did not draw much crowds. From district administrators to offices in the room, there were fewer than a dozen people in the audience, as the board of directors commented on the contract. «I would like to thank everyone for the length of time and duration of their work to reach this interim agreement,» said Alisha Hilde, a member of the Board of Directors, who voted in favour of the treaty. «I have doubts about the impact this will have on class sizes, and that`s what we need to do as a board of directors.» Negotiations on the new three-year contract began in April and were interrupted by protests led by educators and fiery public comments at school board meetings. Some board members said they were grateful for the contract, particularly as it was a three-year contract. The district and the union last agreed on a one-year contract that expired on June 30, 2018. Previously, political groups had agreed on a one-year extension of the contract for the 2016/2017 school year. «I am very concerned that it will create a significant funding problem with the borough, which will have a negative impact on our classrooms by increasing class sizes,» said Donley, who voted against the contract. Starr Marsett, the school board`s president, said she supported the new contract, but understood that the district was facing budgetary constraints and that it was necessary to continue to deal with teacher recruitment.
She said she supported growing diversity, including within the school board. In the 2019/20 school year, the base salary of the salary plan will increase by 2 per cent and next year by an additional 2 per cent. Thus, in 2020-21, a first teacher with a bachelor`s degree will earn $52,242. «It`s a difficult situation we find ourselves in because money is scarce and no one wants to make cuts in other areas, yet it`s nice to be able to reward our truly dedicated, wonderful, talented and hard-working teachers with a pay raise and other things,» said school counselor Deena Mitchell, who voted in favour of the contract. The school district will calculate the retroactive pay increase for each union member and calculate on average the remaining salary periods for that school year, according to Todd Hess, the district`s human resources manager. District increases its contribution to health care costs: the district will enter $1.9 million into the union`s health reserve account this school year to offset premium increases. Over the next school year, the borough will increase its contribution to a union member`s health insurance premium by 50 $US per month to 1,695 $US per member per month. In 2020-21, nothing will change. Mitchell said she also believed that the school`s management should address issues of diversity and hiring teachers in high-demand positions, including special education. Foster, who voted against the treaty, said he was concerned not only about the shortage of teachers in the field of special education, but also about the increase in turnover and vacancy rates in higher-poverty schools. In addition, there are «challenges in finding a diverse group of teachers to meet the needs of our population in at-risk schools.» Additions to the «Academic Freedom» section: union members «have a professional responsibility to respect the styles of apprentices