BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — For the first time in 12 years Buffalo school teachers have a new contract.
After ongoing negotiations, Buffalo teachers and the school board both voted in favor of the new contract Monday night. Teachers spent nearly three hours discussing the offer after the board approved the contract by a vote of 7-2.
Under the new contract, the teachers will work more but will receive more pay.
The deal increases the length of each school day by 25 minutes and increases the length of the school year to 188 days, but it also includes pay raises for the teachers. Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore says the new contract will bring teachers salaries in Buffalo more into line with what teachers in the suburbs make – around $90,000 at the top end.
With the new contract, teachers will get a 10 percent pay bump in the first year of the three year deal, then 2 percent raises each year after that. They will also receive a one-time bonus between $2,000 and $9,000, depending on their step. That’s in place of the back pay the Buffalo Teachers Federation had fought for before.
The district had fought for even larger increases in the length of the school day and year, but made concessions to strike this deal.
The deal has teachers having to help pay for their health insurance now, with family coverage costing $1,100 dollars per year to start. A controversial plastic surgery allowance was also removed from the new contract.
Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore says the vote passed almost unanimously. Rumore also says having Superintendent Kriner Cash at the table is a major reason as to why they were able to reach a deal.
According to Rumore, the district has nearly 60 million dollars in reserves to finance the contract. Both teachers and the board will return to the bargaining table in 2018.