After nearly a year of weekly negotiations and late-night meetings, the Belmont School Committee and the Belmont Education Association, the agent for Belmont’s classroom instructors, will sign a new three-year memoranda of agreement at the committee’s regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, June 24.
The contact will be signed by BEA President John Sullivan. The BEA represents the district’s school teachers, assistant principals, coordinators, teacher aides/instructional support staff and campus monitors.
Sources contacted by the Belmontonian would not go into detail on the specifics in the contract including the percentage salary increase or whether the two sides have agreed to continue the “steps and lanes” salary schedule. Steps refer to how many years a teacher has been teaching, and lanes refer to how much education the teacher has.
Under the current three-year contract, set to expire on Aug. 31, first year teacher with a bachelor’s degree received $46,546 in fiscal year 2014 while a first year educator with a PhD would earn $55,788. At the top end, a PhD with 15 years of work experience makes just under $100,000.
Belmont School Superintendent Dr. Thomas Kingston – who is leaving his position on June 30 – has been publicly critical of the steps and lanes schedules as pay increases are automatically given to educators without consideration for performance. Other critics contend an across-the-board pay increase would be a fair substitute of the current structure.
Supporters of the current pay schedule say that it provides transparency as they are based on easily quantifiable measures ensuring equitable salaries without biases towards teachers and allows those educators to plan for the future by giving them a reasonable assurance of their yearly income.