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Newark teachers union and district reach tentative deal on new contract

Negotiators for the Newark Teachers Union have reached a tentative agreement with the district on a new five-year contract, replacing one that expired in June.

The union announced the deal Friday afternoon but did not release any details about the contract agreement, which will determine how much Newark teachers are paid.

“I want to thank both sides for all their hard work in making this first post-takeover contract a reality and another step in the direction of restorative justice for all our members,” the union said Friday in a message posted on Facebook.

Union members and the Newark school board must still approve the new contract later this month. The contract determines the pay and benefits earned by teachers and other school staffers, along with a host of other working conditions, including how many days teachers work and how much time they have for planning and training.

The new agreement will replace a four-year contract that ended in June, which awarded bonuses and salary increases to teachers based on ratings of their job performance. The new contract will be the first since the state ended its takeover of the district in 2018 and a new superintendent, Roger León, was chosen by the city’s school board.

“I am extremely pleased we were able to reach a tentative agreement,” said board member Reginald Bledsoe on Twitter. “I want to thank the @NTU_481 Leadership for their commitment to both their membership and our 35,543 Newark students.”

On Monday, union leaders and members representing each school will review the agreement. On Tuesday, the union will share details of the agreement with its roughly 4,000 members, who include teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, and other school employees. Later in the week, the union will hold information sessions at its office to answer any questions.

On August 26, union members will vote on the new contract. If it is approved by a majority of members — and by the Newark school board, which meets August 27 — the new pay scale will go into effect by the time school resumes in September, according to union officials’ postings on Facebook.

Union officials on Friday also thanked the negotiators from both sides for hashing out a deal during summer break.

“It was a long hot, wet, windy, muggy, nasty, summer,” they said in the Facebook message, “and even if all the tea leaves in China were dollar bills we couldn’t afford to pay them enough for what they did voluntarily.”