Dartmouth teachers ratify new contract
Following two years of contract negotiations, Dartmouth's teachers will move forward with a contract that supports students’ education and staff collaboration.
According to Superintendent Bonny Gifford, the Dartmouth Educators Association (DEA) and the district ratified the new teachers contract on June 15. The ratification ends a lengthy negotiation process that began in 2015.
Gifford said the biggest issue from the district’s perspective was a planned shift from a block scheduling to a seven-period scheduling system at the high school. Details about the switch, planned for the 2018-2019 school year, needed ironing out, she said.
With the new system, teachers will now have greater flexibility, Gifford said. There is time built into it for participating in lesson planning and collaboration with other teachers. It also allows teachers to offer one-on-one support for students who might need a little bit of extra help. Both are improvements over the existing schedule, which Gifford noted is rigid and difficult to schedule around.
The two entities had entered into mediation per request of the DEA following several hours of negotiations on April 11. As the district and the DEA worked to nail down a time to meet with a mediator, teachers expressed their frustration with the process at the May 8 School Committee meeting, at which more than 40 teachers and supporters showed up wearing "SETTLE NOW" badges.
Teachers have been working without a contract since the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year. The three-year contract covers the past year retroactively, and expires in August 2019.
Dartmouth Educators Association representatives could not be reached for comment.