BYFIELD — The Triton Regional School District teachers association and School Committee last week approved a three-year contract that calls for no raises next fiscal year.
Under the contract, which runs from September 2011 to Aug. 31, 2014, the approximately 220 full-time equivalent Triton teachers will receive a 1.5 percent raise in the second year and 1.75 percent raise in the third year.
"There was compromise on both sides, which is good for negotiations," School Committee Chairwoman Dina Sullivan said. "Both parties are very happy to be settled with a contract before the end of the (fiscal) year."
Keeping in mind the recent difficult budget season, the contract keeps salaries level for fiscal 2012, but shortens the work year by two professional development days. Officials are still discussing which two days will be eliminated.
In fiscal 2013, teachers will receive a 1.5 percent raise, at a cost of $256,000, but one of the two eliminated professional development days will be restored. If funding exists, the School Committee may propose restoring the second professional development day in exchange for a .5 percent additional salary increase.
"In effect, the teachers would receive an additional pay raise, but it would be paid for working that extra day," Assistant Superintendent Brian Forget said.
In fiscal 2014, teachers will receive at 1.75 percent raise, at a cost of $263,000.
A key element of the agreement gives Superintendent Christopher Farmer more rigorous control over arrangements under which teachers may progress through salary scales as a result of work assumed outside their normal duties.
"The previous arrangements were rather loose and loosely applied," Farmer said. "The new arrangements will enable the district to continue to recognize teachers who are involved in long-term improvements to the district's programs and services, while at the same time ensuring that the benefit will not be available for routine work."
Forget said that through better management of that system, the district could easily save more than $45,000 over 10 years on a single teacher's salary.
"Multiplied across the system as a whole over a period of time, the savings to the district will be very substantial," Forget said.
Teachers' association president Sue Densmore said her members are pleased with the agreement.
"While it was a long process, we were glad at the chance to be able to sit down and hammer out a deal," she said. "It is good for morale to have settled before going into a new school year."