Farmington school board approves 3-year contract with teachers

Farmington Public Schools officials on Tuesday unanimously approved a 3-year contract with the Farmington Education Association (FEA) that adds no additional dollars to the current pay scale but helps bridge the gap between lower and higher paid teachers.

Kathy Smith, Executive Director of Human Resources, said the district and FEA have worked on the new contract for more than a year.

Smith shared highlights from the new contract, which continues through the end of the 2018-2019 school year:

  • Extends the pay scale, which slows the growth of salary costs by 30 percent each year
  • Supports a balanced budget and maintains the school board’s target of a 10 percent fund balance
  • This year and next year, incremental increases for lower paid teachers
  • Continues an insurance advisory committee that will recommend changes to control health care costs
  • Adds merit pay components that link compensation with performance evaluations

In addition, the district will establish a joint committee focused on recruitment and retention of students, Smith said.

“I’m pleased that we’ve reached a tentative agreement,” board member Terri Weems said. While she has concerns about the contract’s financial implications, she said, “I recognize, and everyone at this table recognizes, the importance of valuing our teachers.”

Board member Jim Stark appreciated the emphasis on recruiting and retaining students. “That’s direct money. If we keep kids in the district, that’s money we don’t have to beg for or apply for… it just comes to us through enrollment.”

“What I see for this district moving forward is exciting,” board president Jessica Cummings said.