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Rochester educators, school board to vote on new teacher contract Tuesday

James Brown
WXXI News file photo

Teachers at the Rochester City School District may soon have a three-year contract, six months after their last one expired.

Teachers and school board members are scheduled to finalize the agreement on Tuesday.

The new contract includes a 3.8% salary raise for union members retroactive to July 1 and an incentive for teachers to remain with the district with a $1,500 bonus at the end of each school year for the next two years.

Last school year, nearly 200 teachers left the district either through retirement or resignation, according to data from the Rochester Teachers Association.

“We lost more teachers last year than in any prior year in the history of the district, so teacher retention became a primary goal for the district,” said Adam Urbanski, president of the RTA. “But there were not sufficient incentives to retain them. So, (Superintendent) Peluso, much to his credit, decided to get personally involved in negotiations with me.”

Urbanski said he and Superintendent Carmine Peluso had dozens of meetings over the last few months. Negotiations had stalled with former Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small ahead of this school year.

“I think both the needs of the district and the needs of the teachers and especially the needs of our students were addressed in a fair and reasonable way and this tentative agreement,” Urbanski said.

Peluso said in a statement last week that the agreement will pave the way for a strong relationship between the district and teacher union members going forward.

Peluso was appointed superintendent last week by the school board, which abruptly announced they were canceling the nationwide search. Peluso served as interim superintendent for one semester.

Noelle E. C. Evans is WXXI's Murrow Award-winning Education reporter/producer.