Andover teachers will receive a 5 percent raise over three years under a new contract that requires all Andover High School teachers to teach three classes both semesters.
Two years of intense negotiations between the School Committee and Andover Education Association ended Friday with a unanimous School Committee vote and seven spoken words: "The motion carries. We have a contract."
The previous contract had expired after Aug. 31, 2010.
The change to the high school schedule proved to be the sticking point in negotiations, stalling progress long after details for elementary and middle school teachers had been completed. High school teachers wanted to retain the previous 3-2 schedule, where teachers teach three courses one semester and two courses in the other semester. The School Committee wanted to move to a 3-3 model, requiring three courses per semester, to save the town $658,000 through the elimination of 5.8 teaching positions.
In the end, 3-3 was the agreed-upon format, but that schedule may not last longer than two years. As part of the agreement, teachers, administrators and high school parents will come together over the winter as part of a high school scheduling committee to find and implement a new high school schedule for the years ahead.
In a statement, the AEA and School Committee said the new schedule would be implemented at the beginning of a school year, assuming the agreement was reached by Dec. 1 of the school year prior to implementation. The committee is expected to convene in February, meaning the earliest a new schedule could be implemented at the high school is for the 2014-2015 academic year.
The agreement, tentatively agreed to on June 19, came just days after a fact-finder's report from the state recommended the sides accept a 3-3 deal. The report was released last week by the state to the Andover Townsman. Both the teachers union and School Committee declined to comment on the report but expressed surprise that the tentative agreement didn't prevent it from being released to the public. Teachers ratified the contract last Tuesday, June 26.