‘Huge cost savings:’ Four-year Milford teacher contract is ratified

MILFORD – Changes to the early retirement provision of the new teachers’ contract will eventually mean big savings to taxpayers, said the school board chairman.

The four-year contract recently ratified by both the school board and teachers’ union will go before voters at the Feb. 7 school Deliberative Session and then the March 12 elections.

The retirement provision is the most significant aspect of the new pact, said Chairman Ron Carvell, because it will result in “a huge cost savings down the road” by giving the school board more control, expiring after Dec. 1, 2022.

Ten years ago, giving teachers large early retirement benefits saved the district money, he said, but the benefits have become unsustainable, especially with enrollment declining and the state passing down costs to local towns.

The agreement also gives teachers salary increases of 1 percent the first year and 2 percent for each of the subsequent three years as well as some money for professional development.

“Our focus was to put the teachers first,” Carvell said. “We came together and worked on what we both wanted,” with the final negotiation session, with a mediator, lasting 17 hours, until 11 p.m.

If voters approved the contract it will increase the district’s operating budget by $512,000 its first year.

Cheryl Erdody and Suzanne Schedin, president and vice president of the Milford Teachers Association, both called the contract “fair.”

Along with teachers, the association includes registered nurses, librarians, social workers and psychologists and other professionals.

The salary schedule begins with $43,000 for a new teacher with a bachelors degree in 2019-2021, and goes to $86,715 for a teacher with a master’s degree plus 30 years in 2020-2023.

Also on the school district ballot will be cost items for a new three-year contract with the school custodians’ union, the Milford Educational Personnel Association, that will cost the district $21,103 in its first year.

The Feb. 7 Milford School District Deliberative Session is at 7 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.

Kathy Cleveland may be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.