WESTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Another night of contract negotiations for Hampshire Regional Education Association members on Monday.
At the Hampshire Regional School Committee meeting, members expressed concerns over what they say are relatively low teaching salaries. The U.S. Department of Education reports, in 2020, Hampshire Regional teachers were earning $70,000, compared to $84,000 statewide. 22News spoke with members about their current contract.
“The current contract we are working under the teacher rate is 0.75 and 1.5. For many of those people, they’re not seeing a step increase every year, they’re seeing an insignificant percentage tacked on and it hasn’t even come close to keeping up with the cost of living,” said Greg Reynolds, Co-president of the Hampshire Regional Education Association.
Reynolds adds, “this school district is one of the top median household income districts and is in the lower portion of the pay. And with an average rate of inflation of 3.588 over the last five years, it seems like we are falling behind.”
“We have not received COLA percentages over the last 10 years that would match past inflation,” expressed Jesse Porter-Henry, Co-President of the Regional Education Association.
If a fair contract is to be ratified by the school committee, it could take effect the next school year and run through 2026. The association also asked the school committee to take a look at what can be done to go beyond the contract with extra hours and personal expenses.