Cinnaminson Education Association and Board of Education have reached a contract agreement

The agreement came a full five months before the deadline

Cinnaminson Township Public Schools Superintendent Salvatore Illuzzi has announced the Board of Education and the Cinnaminson Education Association have reached an agreement in regard to the 2017–2020 contract.

While Illuzzi announced the agreement at the January Board of Education meeting, the Cinnaminson Education Association voted to approve the proposed contract in mid-December. With the current 2014–2017 contract expiring on June 30, the agreement was reached a full five months before the deadline.

CEA President Tamara Gross says she thinks the early decision reflects the positive relationship between the CEA and the board. Gross also says the CEA is satisfied with the outcome of the contract.

“The members of the CEA are happy with the contract, as 96 percent of the staff voted to ratify,” Gross said. “We received a very fair settlement that is indicative of both the great job that the staff plays in enriching the lives of the students and community and the collaborative relationship that we have with our Board of Education.”

The new contract will include a staff salary increase of 3.55 percent in the first year and 3.25 percent in the second and third years. The staff will see an increase in medical co-pays, an additional personal day in replacement of a flex day and an additional evening conference, totaling three.

Teacher work days are going from 186 to 187, and for the 2017–2018 school year, the staff will work two in service days prior to the start of the school year, meaning they will start before Labor Day. The contract is effective July 1 through June 30, 2020.

The district has come to a contractual agreement noticeably earlier than many other districts, which Illuzzi says is typical of Cinnaminson.

Gross says she feels fortunate to have had Illuzzi as a superintendent for the past 18 years.

“Dr. Illuzzi has always been fair when negotiating, and the association not only has a great relationship with him, but with the board as well,” Gross said. “We realized that he was motivated to do well by his staff, as he knows our worth while continuing to balance that with the demands on our taxpayers.”

Illuzzi says while both sides never walk away truly happy with the outcome after a contract dispute, he feels both sides got enough of what they wanted to be satisfied.

“We feel that it is mutually beneficial to our township as well as our teaching and professional staff,” Illuzzi said. “At the end of the day, respect for each other’s position prevailed, and we secured another agreement.”

Board of Education President Jean Cohen agreed, saying the “excellent working relationship with the CEA,” in addition to a mutual respect, allowed the contract to be settled fairly quickly.

“We know we have to get the job done,” Cohen said. “That’s where we’re there for.”

Cohen added she’s relieved the process is over, and the board can now focus on selecting a new superintendent to replace Illuzzi, who announced his retirement last year.

Negotiating Team Chairperson Brian Belsky says while neither side got everything they wanted, both sides are always looking to improve on the previous contract.

“You do the best you can for the group at that point in time,” Belsky said. “The aides, the secretaries and the teaching staff all have needs that they were trying to improve on, and we tried to do a little bit for everyone.”

The next Board of Education meeting will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m.