Pay Freeze Derails Teacher Layoffs

Hamilton, Massachussetts — In order to stave off potential layoffs, the Hamilton-Wenham School District would be holding off pay for their teachers. The school board were able to close a deal with the teachers. The teachers were able to obtain a one-year contract from the board to put themselves in a safe position that would most likely not exceed a year. Though contracts generally have a lifespan of three years, the educators were still pleased that they won't have to worry about losing their jobs for now.

The average teacher's pay in the school district for last year was $68,210. The contract involves skipping two types of increase — cost-of-living(basic) increase and step increase. Step increases are based on tenure. Teachers are still entitled to column increases, which are determined by their education career achievements.

"The big news is the frozen steps," said Chairwoman Alexa McLoughan of the school board. She noted that most districts have eliminated cost-of-living increases recently, but many have maintained step accruals. "It shows a recognition of the times we're in," she added. Along with the promise of zero layoffs in the coming school year is an additional day off - a professional development day that will be skipped.

"We spent a lot of time getting to 'yes'. We're extremely pleased." said McLoughan.