Contract fair to teachers, board

It’s early, but we want to say right now that we hope Milford voters will approve the recently negotiated teachers’ contract on Election Day, March 10.

We believe the School Board and the local Teachers’ Association reached a reasonable agreement that is fair to both sides.

While it gives teachers 2 percent raises in each year of the three-year agreement, it also requires them to be responsible for up to $4,000 in deductable health costs for a family plan and $2,000 annual for a single-person plan. That’s not a small amount, as anyone dealing with deductables will attest.

This agreement came weeks after voters rejected a proposal issued by a fact-finder, and the board and teachers went back to the negotiating table. That they reached what certainly appears to be an agreement that is fair to both sides is a tribute to their determination but also, we believe, a genuine sense of fairness.

Teachers take a great deal of criticism in contemporary America because of how the nation is losing ground to other countries when it comes to education. Some of that criticism is undoubtedly justified, but much of it is not. Indeed, often there is far too much of it directed at teachers.

Often the folks who teach our children take the hit for us because we are not doing our jobs as parents. Are we reading to our kids when they’re young? Are we making sure that they’re doing their homework when they’re teenagers? We have responsibilities, too, when it comes to education. It isn’t all on the teachers, nor should it be.

We believe that the vast majority of teachers are caring individuals who went into the profession because they want to help kids. We need to support that caring in the only way we can: By approving the relatively small raises that have been negotiated.

Two percent, after all, is only two cents on the dollar, so for a teacher making $40,000, that’s only $800 for a year. It’s not a lot of money for people who are responsible (but not totally, remember) for the future of our kids.