Cheshire school officials reach agreement on new contract with instructional aides

Cheshire school officials reach agreement on new contract with instructional aides

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CHESHIRE — Earlier this month, the Board of Education reached a new three year agreement with the union representing the school district’s instructional teacher assistants and teacher assistants. 

Meanwhile, contracts with the unions representing the district’s maintenance workers and clerical staff — both of which expired June 30 — still need to be negotiated and ratified. 

Under the new agreement with the CSEA/SEIU Local 2001/760, the union representing instructional teacher assistants and teacher assistants, employees are scheduled to receive annual wage increases based on job classifications.

For example, study hall monitors and teacher assistants will receive a 2.25 percent annual raise. Meanwhile, instructional assistants who are Applied Behavior Analysis [ABA] certified and work with students on the autism spectrum will receive a 2.75 percent annual raise. Instructional assistants and hall monitors at Cheshire High School will receive a 3.25 percent annual raise. 

A four-year contract with the Education Association of Cheshire, whose members include certified teachers, expires in June 2021. A three-year contract with the Cheshire Administrative Personnel union, whose members include school building principals and assistant principals, the athletic director, and other administrators aside from Superintendent of Schools Jeff Solan and Chief Operating Officer Vincent Masciana, also expires in 2021. 

Deductibles on the Health Savings Account medical plan for CSEA/SEIU union members who work 30 or more hours per week will remain unchanged from current deductibles at $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for those plans with dependents. Meanwhile, the Board of Education’s contributions to employees’ accounts will increase annually, increasing from the current $500 contribution to $600 for individuals in the first year of the contract. For plans with dependents that contribution will increase from $1,000 to $1,200.

Over the course of the agreement, employee co-shares will decrease annually, from 25 percent in 2019-20 to 22 percent in 2021-22. 

Board of Education chairwoman Kathryn Hallen said the parties involved in the contract deliberations “negotiated in good faith. The result was very reasonable and fair to the instructional aides and the district.” 

Union leadership could not be reached for comment. 

Solan said he feels the agreement, which union membership unanimously ratified, “was a good bargain for both groups.”

The contract with district maintenance employees, who Solan described as “the face of our organization,” is close to being finalized.

“We’re very close. We’re just awaiting board approval and ratification. Just like the IA’s [instructional aides] their membership has to ratify the agreement,” Solan said.