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Ridgewood Teachers, Board Reach Contract Agreement

Ridgewood Board of Education President Sheila Brogan.
Ridgewood Board of Education President Sheila Brogan. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — The Ridgewood Education Association and Ridgewood Board of Education reached an agreement Tuesday on a three-year contract for teachers, according to a statement issued by the board.

The Memorandum of Agreement, signed by both sides at 12:15 a.m., ends an impasse in negotiations that started 14 months ago.

The new pact, which also covers support staff, covers July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2018.

"Last evening's closure to the collective bargaining process is a relief to our team and our entire membership," said Laura Divina Grasso, chief negotiator for the union.

"I am pleased with the settlement," she added, "and look forward to finalizing the salary guides so we can bring the contents of the agreement to our membership for ratification."

Initially, teachers had asked for a 3 percent salary increase for the current school year, and the board offered 0 percent. A state-appointed fact finder, whose recommendations were rejected by the board in June, had suggested a 2.2 percent increase.

Talks went before a state-appointed super conciliator this summer.

Terms of the agreement reached Tuesday will not be released until teachers have ratified it and the board approves it, according to Debra Anderson, spokesperson for the board.

It's now time for the teachers to focus their energy on the children, Grasso said, and on rebuilding their relationship with the board of education.

The association represents some 550 teachers and secretarial professionals in the Ridgewood public schools.

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