Negotiations for teacher contract still ongoing

Negotiations for teacher contract still ongoing

SMITHFIELD - The Smithfield School Committee began negotiating a new teacher contract in March, and discussions are still ongoing, according to Robert O'Brien, superintendent of Smithfield Public Schools.

In August 2011, teachers signed a three-year contract which will expire on Monday, Sept. 1. The contract provided no raises for the first two years and a 2 percent increase in the third year.

The contract also called for an increase in health insurance co-pays and other health-related changes.

While current negotiations are slow, School Committee Chair Richard Iannitelli said that he remains "cautiously optimistic" that they will have the contract settled by Sept. 1.

O'Brien added that it is "too soon" for the committee to have a plan in the case that negotiations are not settled by then.

The new contract will "most likely be for three years," Iannitelli said, but added that there is always the possibility that it could be for one or two years.

Michael Twohey, teacher union NEA Smithfield's local president, could not be reached for comment at this time.