Published June 14, 2019

MELROSE — You knew this was coming.

The School Committee and the city’s teachers announced this week they have agreed to a three-year contract that includes pay raises of between 9 and more than 11 percent over the pact’s life. The two sides have been negotiating vigorously since voters at the beginning of April passed a $5.18 million override of Proposition 2 1/2, just about all of which is going towards improving Melrose education.

Following is a joint release, issued Wednesday morning.

“Today the Melrose School Committee and the Melrose Education Association are pleased to announce that a Memorandum of Understanding has been agreed upon for a three-year teachers’ contract for the Melrose Public Schools. This collaborative process put students at the center and reflected the voice of the community and the passage of the override. This contract will: fund strategic salary increases for all Melrose teachers, elevate educators’ voice in decision making, establish a Health & Safety Advisory Committee, and add meaningful time to the elementary school day to promote wellness and movement.

“The contract goes into effect on July 1, 2019 and expires June 30, 2022.

“Superintendent Cyndy Taymore expressed gratitude to the Melrose community and highlighted the outcomes for the District, saying, ‘The District is moving toward a more collaborative model, incorporating educator voice in decision-making. We are adding much-needed time to the elementary school day, more creatively using our early release time, and strategically increasing teacher salaries. We believe these and other changes in this contract will produce better educational outcomes for all students, as that remains our shared goal. The residents of Melrose should understand that this contract would not have been possible without the override funds. I thank them, on behalf of the Melrose Public Schools, for investing in our educators and our students.’

“‘On behalf of the Melrose Education Association, I would like to thank the Melrose community and Melrose City Officials for the overwhelming display of support during contract negotiations. We are humbled by the investment in the future of the Melrose Public Schools,’ said Lisa Donovan, President of the Melrose Education Association (MEA). ‘The strong commitment to quality education for all students was the focus of the MEA and the Melrose School Committee throughout the negotiation process. The collaborative efforts of both parties resulted in an agreement that benefits students and educators.’

“Among other important provisions, the contract reflects the following steps forward for the Melrose Public Schools:

• In line with the community’s objectives, funds strategic salary increases that value our educators and make important market adjustments to prioritize retention, particularly for steps 7-10; all teachers will get a minimum of a 9% salary increase over the life of the contract, and some will get more than 11%

• Adds meaningful time (10 mins per day) to the elementary school day to promote movement and wellness, as well as allowing for daily planning time for educators and additional specialist time and content (art, music, etc.) for students

• Adds two early-release days at the elementary level and adapts the use of the early-release time to balance needs of district-directed training with data analysis and planning

• Increases teacher voice in building-level decision-making, scheduling and implementation of new innovations

• Establishes a standing Health & Safety Advisory Committee, consisting of educators, a School Committee Member, members of the administration and invited City officials that meets to discuss building health and safety concerns

• Provides additional support for personalized learning for students, new options for parent outreach, and building-based flexibility in learning demonstration

• Updates the agreement on teacher evaluation to reflect changes in regulations and to reorganize for clarity

“‘The agreement reached with our teachers reflects the very best in our continuing efforts to work collaboratively with our faculty and staff on behalf of our students, our families, and our community,’ noted School Committee Chair Ed O’Connell. ‘While other cities and towns see their school administrations and teachers at odds with each other over money and time and workplace grievances, the Melrose Public Schools continually model ways in which management and labor use mutual understanding and respect to find common ground in support of student academic success and social-emotional welfare. Ultimately, this contract is about much more than either party’s respective interests. This contract is about our students and their families, first and foremost, and, through them, the future of our community–and not just within the three years of the contract but extending much beyond that timeframe — for this contract lays the groundwork for contracts to come, and says to our future administrators, teachers, and school committees that a collaborative approach that engages teachers in school governance in meaningful ways, and which elevates student outcomes above all other concerns, is the best model for a successful school district.’”