Teachers agree to two-year pay freeze in new contract

On Feb. 19, the Greater Johnstown School District and its largest employee union, the Johnstown Teachers’ Association, finalized a new contract that will freeze the salary schedule for most JTA members for two years and offer modest pay increases for the final years of the contract, which expires June 2021. The previous JTA contract expired in June 2018.

The salary schedule determines the pay teachers receive according to their years of service in the district. For 126 JTA members, the salary schedule will not change for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years. On June 30, 2020, the salary schedule will increase 1 percent, and a year later it will increase 2 percent. Teachers’ pay will still reflect their years of service.

The district’s 45 teaching assistants will see 1 to 3 percent increases to their hourly wages, with the exact pay raise depending on the individual’s level of certification. Twelve senior JTA members who are not included on the contract’s salary schedule will receive pay raises of 2.38 percent in the first year, 1.01 percent in the second year, and 1.02 percent in the third year of the contract.

“I am extraordinarily grateful to the members of the JTA for recognizing the challenging financial position the district is in and agreeing to a contract that will help us as we continue to develop our 2019-20 budget and long-term fiscal strategies,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Patricia Kilburn.

Under the contract, the district will save $180,000 in salaries and benefits during the 2018-19 school year, compared with the previous school year. Kilburn projects the district will save an additional $220,000 in the 2019-20 school year as a result of the new contract.

“I’m grateful that our teachers’ association, board and administration have maintained positive relationships throughout the negotiating process, and want to commend all involved for the support they have shown for our schools and the students of our community,” Kilburn said.

The new contract went into effect immediately.