After months of a tough budget process, Montclair School aides and the MEA have accepted a deal from the BoE, which will save them from being outsourced. It is not without some sacrifices however, health benefits being the largest loss. School Board Vice President Leslie Larson says,”While the board’s decision to outsource the aides was a difficult one, we are pleased that we were able to reach a compromise position with the MEA which achieves the savings needed in the budget but also lessens the impact of this decision with the individual employees.”
Larson went on to explain:
Because of this agreement with the MEA aides will continue to be employees of the Board of Education which is beneficial in the following ways:
- Even though the health benefits will no longer be provided, increases to base salaries will help aides pay for some of their coverage and in the long run provide higher pensions should they retire.
- If they were subcontracted not only would benefits be lost, but their salaries would have fallen by over 28% from what they will receive next year through the board.
- They will continue to have the legal protection afforded them through the NJEA.
- Their sick and personal days remain unchanged.
- They will continue to have access to tuition reimbursement afforded through the MEA contract.
- They will continue to have access to district professional development.
- Several aides who have worked for the board for 20 years and more will be able to purchase insurance at a reduced rate and possibly receive insurance from the state when they retire.