The Region 16 Board of Education and the Region 16 Administrators Association have come to terms on a new three-year contract.
The association represents 11 administrators in the district, including principals, assistant principals and three positions in the central office. The new contract runs from the current fiscal year through the 2013-14 fiscal year.
The contract includes a 1.5 percent wage increase for the current year, no increase for the second year, and a 1.75 percent increase in the third year. After step increases are factored in, the overall salary increase goes up to 2.62 percent in the first year and 0.15 percent in the second year but remains the same 1.75 percent in the final year of the deal.
Joseph Nuzzo, Community School principal and president of the association, explained seven of the 11 administrators in the union are already at the maximum step level. Under the last agreement, Nuzzo said, the union agreed to a freeze on step increases. He said the union felt it was only fair the four administrators who didn’t receive step increases under the last contract will receive them under the new deal.
The only major change in the contract is the option of a new healthcare plan.
Under the deal, the board will provide a High Deductible Health Care/Health Savings Account (HDHP/HSA) Plan option to administrators beginning July 1. Currently, administrators have a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) health plan.
Current administrators will have the option of either plan come July without having the pay more. Under the contract, any employee in the union hired after July 1 will have the option of either plan, but will have to pay the difference if they choose the more expensive PPO plan.
The HDHP/HAS plan includes a deductible of $2,000 for individuals and a $4,000 deductible for families. Under the plan, the board will pay 50 percent of the applicable deductible. The board will pay 80.5 percent of the health insurance benefit. Beginning July 1, 2014 the board’s share will drop to 80 percent.
The health care issue proved to be a sticking point during the negotiations.
Nuzzo said the union wanted to ensure it could keep the current PPO plan.
“It was something that we really felt strongly about. … It was a big negotiating factor,” he said.
Priscilla Cretella, chair of the school board, said the board favored the HDHP/HAS plan because it will be cheaper for the board. If all 11 administrators choose the new plan the board would save $16,000, she said.
Cretella said it won’t be known until July, when administrators choose their plan, what savings the board will realize.
In all, Cretella said she felt good about the new deal.
“There was give and take. I do feel good about (the contract). … They’re administrators, we rely on them heavily. We wanted to make it agreeable to both parties,” Cretella said.
Copies of the contract are available for public viewing in the town clerks’ offices in Beacon Falls and Prospect.