Lincoln School Committee, union reach tentative contract agreement

Lincoln School Committee, union reach tentative contract agreement

Both sides praise this year’s negotiations as the best yet

LINCOLN – Signatures from union and School Committee members are all that remains for contracts to become official for Lincoln School Department’s certified employees, made up of approximately 255 teachers.

At the school board’s meeting Monday night, the committee voted unanimously in favor of a tentative agreement for certified employees.

Fred Hoppe, president of the Lincoln Teachers Association, told The Breeze that the negotiating process was the best he’s witnessed in 26 years.

At the start of Monday’s School Committee meeting, Hoppe thanked board members for their collaboration during the negotiating process, and said he considered the contracts “visionary” and creative.

He said discussions were passionate, but said the process has never been more professional than it was during this year’s meetings.

School Committee member Mary Anne Roll agreed.

“It was, by far, the best process that we’ve had,” she said.

Roll explained that recognizing the professionalism of staff members and trying out new ideas was a plus this year, and she mentioned a new health care plan and the “notion of paid time off.”

School Committee Chairwoman Kristine Donabedian said that in years past, negotiation meetings would last until 2 a.m., but this time around, the union and school board members were able to keep to a schedule nearly every time, and “had some very good faith, honest and productive dialogue” face-to face, with lots of listening and trust in the meetings.

Hoppe said the groups had been negotiating since January, and he was thankful the new contract was completed before the current one expired.

Donabedian told The Breeze that each of the School Committee and union members must sign the contract to make it official, and said contract details would be forthcoming.