The contract follows on from the previous contract, which expired last summer, Lyons said. The two teams, he said, “came back and triggered our differences and we [worked] a preliminary agreement,” he said. Lyons said the deal includes pay increases of about 2 to 3 percent a year for teachers and eliminates a controversial performance-based compensation system, adopted by the board and the union in late 2013, which many teachers considered degrading and divided. HAMPDEN, Maine – On Wednesday night, the board of directors of RSU 22 unanimously approved a new three-year contract with the district teachers` union, Superintendent Rick Lyons said shortly after the vote that took place at a meeting at Hampden Academy. During contract negotiations, teachers said they were receiving several thousand dollars less per year than their colleagues in Greater Bangor, according to an information graph posted on a Facebook page called Support Education in RSU 22. Teachers said relatively low wages have pushed some to leave the district. Members of Education Association 22 voted Wednesday to ratify the contract and are expected to be finalized on Thursday morning, Hampden Academy teacher Emily Albee, who sits on the union`s bargaining team, said Wednesday night. Albee said Wednesday that teachers who are part of the union are happy to have made progress, but that their work has not been done. “It was quite a process, but the union can officially say that we are pleased that the board heard and understood what we had to say about performance compensation,” she said. “As educators, we try to educate the people around us, which is why we really appreciate that they belonged to us. If the new contract is ratified by teachers, it will be retroactive to last summer and run until August 31, 2018, Lyons said. After months of sometimes controversial negotiations, negotiating teams representing teachers and members of the riding`s board of directors made a breakthrough on Friday, Lyons said. In March, the board of directors of RSU 22 took the unusual step of publishing some of the terms of its recent contract offer to district teachers at a meeting that drew large crowds to Hampden Academy.
Niles Parker, Chairman of the Board of Directors, made a prepared statement on the conflicts he read at the beginning of the board meeting in March. The statement, which contained a summary of the Council`s final proposal, was also published on the school district`s website. “We still have a long way to go, but one mountain at a time,” she said, adding: “We look forward to keeping education in our place. Our children come first. “The council voted unanimously to ratify the treaty, which was really exciting,” Albee said after the meeting.