Newark Teachers Reach Contract Deal

Two years in the making — two very public years, thanks to Facebook — and the Newark teachers union has reached a preliminary agreement with the Christie administration for a new contract that will include bonus pay and an unprecedented role for teachers to police and evaluate their peers.

Newark superintendent Cami Anderson and Newark Teachers Union President Joseph Del Grosso are expected today to announce a five-year pact that would provide up to $12,500 in bonuses to exemplary teachers working in the toughest schools, the first large-scale bonus system in the state.

According to Del Grosso, the contract also will institute a salary guide for new teachers, one that requires them to receive positive evaluations before they can qualify for any raises at all.

Equally innovative is a peer review process that will not only have teachers part of the evaluations of their colleagues, but also helping oversee the district’s evaluation system as a whole.

“Up to this point, the evaluation system has been entirely the subjective opinion of one person,” Del Grosso said last night. “That won’t happen any more.”

The agreement is hardly final. It must be approved by the union’s 3,000-plus membership. A meeting is planned for this coming Tuesday at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, with a vote scheduled the following Monday.

NJ Spotlight is an online news service providing insight and information on issues critical to New Jersey, with the aim of informing and engaging the state’s communities and businesses. Read more From New Jersey Spotlight.