The Nantucket Teachers’ Association and the Nantucket School Committee have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, Teachers’ Association president Page Martineau and Superintendent Beth Hallett confirmed Wednesday.
The agreement will be presented to the union on August 28th, the first day of professional development before school starts in September, with a ratification vote the following week.
Martineau declined to comment further as she has not yet had the chance to present the agreement to the union. Nantucket Public Schools superintendent Beth Hallett also confirmed the tentative agreement, but would not share specific details of the potential contract.
"We have reached a tentative agreement pending School Committee approval and NTA ratification," Hallett said. "We are pleased that we were able to come to an agreement quickly and amicably."
After nearly nine months of negotiations, the Teachers’ Association and the School Committee filed jointly for mediation with the state last June, acknowledging they had reached an impasse that could not be resolved without outside assistance. At the time, Martineau said negotiations would probably not resume until late August or early September, meaning teachers might start the school year on an expired contract. But the tentative agreement means that scenario is now unlikely.
The main point of contention between the union and the administration was the size of the raises and market adjustment compensation offered to teachers.
“Our last contract, we took these tiny raises because no one knew what was going to happen as a result of [COVID-19],” Martineau told the Current after the two sides filed for mediation. “What we were expecting coming into negotiations was higher than normal raises that acknowledged not only that we tightened our belts but also the amount of work that went into maintaining education over the course of the past three years.”
Martineau also said that after the pandemic, every town union, including the Teachers’ Association, was offered a $2,500 market adjustment, in part related to housing costs. Ultimately, the police department union representing its officers secured a $10,000, one-time market adjustment..
“The feeling is that the housing prices are no different for us, so why is it that we’re stuck with a measly $2,500?” Martineau asked.
The agreement comes amidst a years-long teacher shortage and complaints from some teachers that the administration has struggled to provide them with proper guidance and organization. The details of the agreement were not immediately available, and it isn’t clear what the two groups ultimately agreed on. More details will be available after it is presented to the union later this month.