BUFFALO, N.Y. - Both the Buffalo School Board and the Buffalo Teachers Federation voted Monday night to approve a new teacher contract.
The School Board passed the contract in a vote of 7-2.
The biggest changes associated with the new contract include a salary increase, higher starting salaries for new teachers, longer school days and the termination of the controversial cosmetic surgery rider.
The new contract would give all teachers, including school psychologists and Adult Education Day School teachers a 10 percent salary increase with 2 percent increases in July 2017 and July 2018.
The starting salary for a teacher with the Buffalo School District will now be $37,996, increased from $32,897.
All teachers will also receive a bonus payment ranging between $2,000 and $9,000 depending upon the individual teacher's level of experience.
Any teacher who retired after July 1, 2007 will receive a one-time payment of $2,500.
Under the new contract, teachers would have to pay more into their healthcare benefits.
Employees who have individual healthcare plans currently pay $475 per year toward their healthcare benefits. That cost will increase to $500 this year, then to $550 in 2017-18 school year, and again to $600 in the 2018-19 school year.
Employees who have family healthcare plans currently pay $950 per year toward their healthcare benefits. That cost will increase to $1,100 this year, then to $1,300 in 2017-18 school year, and again to $1,500 in the 2018-19 school year.
The contract would also increase the length of the school day by 25 minutes and add two more days to the academic year.
Some teachers are not on board with the new agreement.
"I think that we could have done better," said Donna Pastorek.
She's been teaching at Southside Elementary for 22 years. She lived through the pay freeze in the early 2000's and says she's still not being paid what she should be for her years of experience.
"It seems like it's a lot more money, but we also have approximately two more weeks of school," she said.
The contract is a three year deal.