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Ridgewood Teacher Negotiations Resume Wednesday

Signs in support of Ridgewood teachers are still being displayed on lawns throughout the village. Their contract expired in June 2015.
Signs in support of Ridgewood teachers are still being displayed on lawns throughout the village. Their contract expired in June 2015. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — The Ridgewood Board of Education and Ridgewood Education Association will meet with a state-appointed super conciliator Wednesday night to break a year-long impasse on teacher contracts.

The closed-door meeting will take place at 5 p.m. at the village Education Center at 49 Cottage Place.

In a statement released Monday night, the board stated it is committed to settling the contract before the 2016-2017 school year begins.

Students resume classes on Sept. 6.

“The Board is prepared to stay as long as needed to finalize the settlement and reach agreement on a successor contract to the one that expired on June 30, 2015,” the statement read.

Last month, the board voted against the recommendations of a state-appointed factfinder.

When the board first met with the super conciliator on June 27, it presented a three-year contract proposal including a salary increase of 1.1 percent for the first year and 2.8 percent for each of the two successive years, according to the statement.

Additionally, the board proposed a health benefit plan change from NJ Direct 10 to NJ Direct 15, increasing copays for teachers from $10 to $15. On the other hand, the best paid teachers would receive one-time payments to help defray part of the increased costs for their healthcare premiums.

In its statement, the board said its proposal does not set a stage for drastic cuts to staff and programs and yet does respect the district’s finances.

A representative from the Ridgewood Education Association did not return a phone call.

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