The Hopewell Valley Regional School District Board of Education and the Hopewell Valley Education Association announced today that they have reached an agreement on terms of a new contract.

The Hopewell Valley Education Association represents more than 400 certificated teaching staff employees of the Board of Education.

The contract will run for three years, retroactive to July 1, 2018, and expire on June 30, 2021.

The settlement calls for annual salary increases of 2.95 percent, 3.05 percent and 3.15 percent to the salary guide for HVEA staff members.

The new contract maintains Chapter 78 health benefit contributions while providing some relief for HVEA members at the top of the salary guide who are contributing the most towards their health benefit premiums. It also allows for an increase in instructional time by 20 minutes at the middle school providing the opportunity to implement a new schedule in September 2020 while equalizing teaching time.

The Board of Education Negotiations Committee consisted of chair  Michael Markulec, board president Alyce Murray, Sarah Tracy and Deborah Linthorst.

“The Board was focused on reaching a settlement that was fair to the hardworking members of the HVEA and respectful to the taxpaying community,” Markulec stated. “I would like to thank my colleagues Ms. Tracy and Ms. Linthorst and board president Murray as well as district administrators assistant superintendent Anthony Suozzo and business administrator Robert Colavita for their work throughout this process.”

“I also would like to express my gratitude to the HVEA collective bargaining team,” Markulec added. “They were extremely professional throughout the entire negotiations process. We were happy to reach this settlement and are committed to working collectively with the HVEA on the challenges ahead.”

HVEA president Danielle Arias added: “We are fortunate to work in a district where our HVEA members, administration, and the Board of Education have a collaborative working relationship that keeps the best interest of students in the forefront. We are pleased to have worked out a fair agreement that addresses the respective needs of all stakeholders.”

The agreement has been ratified by the HVEA and approved by the board.