UPDATE ALERT: Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas and MEA President Ben Dick met for 3 hours to finalize the terms of a contract extension today. Girard at Large has learned that all conceptual issues have been worked out and agreed to. As a result, Dick presented the terms to the MEA executive board which has agreed to send the matter to the membership for a vote.
Gatsas and Dick are expected to finalize the language with lawyers for the union and the school district tomorrow. or Friday if necessary. The terms of the agreement are expected to be presented to the Board of School Committee Monday night at a special meeting. Assuming the board reaches a consensus in favor of the extension’s terms, the union will hold a ratification vote. A date for the vote has yet to be determined.
In a related development, Association of Manchester Principals’ President Rick Norton has confirmed that the principals and Gatsas have agreed to terms, which have yet to be finalized in writing or presented to the AMP executive board. Both Norton and Gatsas expect the negotiations to be finalized in time for Monday’s special meeting.
The extensions are expected to save the city at least $4.4 million in the first year, which will enable the rehiring of approximately 90 to 100 pink slipped educators. The package includes modest changes to the health insurance benefits, but also provides incentives for teachers to retire and or not take health benefits. It also retains the 2.5% raise scheduled to take place on July 1st.
Stay tuned to Girard at Large for complete details as this situation unfolds.