Teacher raises reported falling

Statistics released on Aug. 12 by the New Jersey School Boards Association indicate that average teacher salary raises are dropping to the lowest point on record.

Teacher contracts for 2010-11 that were settled since January reflect average raises of 2.03 percent, according to the NJSBA.

Settlement rates for the most recent agreements, those reached in the second quarter of 2010 (April through June), average 1.58 percent, an almost two-thirds reduction from the raises reflected in contracts covering last school year. (The average settlement rate for all contracts covering the previous school year, 2009-10, was 4.31 percent).

The latest figures, for 2010-11, are the lowest statewide settlement rates calculated since the NJSBA began collecting teacher contract data more than 30 years ago, according to association officials.

The second quarter 2010 (April through June) average includes 23 districts where teachers agreed to a wage freeze. Since January, a total of 42 teachers’ groups have agreed to a one-year pay freeze for 2010-11, and an additional 43 districts have agreed to other forms of givebacks and concessions, according to the NJSBA.

In all, 140 districts reported some form of wage freeze, settlement reduction or other concessions for administrators, support staff and/or teachers.

A recent NJSBA survey of the 198 school districts in which teachers’ contracts expired on June 30, 2010, indicates approximately 80 percent are still in negotiations or at impasse, a similar percentage of unsettled contracts recorded by NJSBA this time last year.