A new contract for Newark teachers is ‘very close.’ What will it include?

Welcome to Chalkbeat Newark's weekly newsletter! Newark schools are officially on summer break 😎. Today, read about negotiations for a new teachers contract, an all-boys school’s first graduating class, and much more.

— Patrick Wall, senior reporter

The big story

Roger Leon and John Abeigon

The Newark teachers contract is about to expire.

District and union officials for several months have been hammering out the terms of a new contract, which determines teacher pay and working conditions. They were hoping to have a deal in place by the time the current contract ends on June 30 — but that now appears unlikely.

However, the teachers union told members last week that it is “very close” to reaching a new agreement with the district. Expect agreement details and a vote this summer, union officials said.

In the meantime, what’s been discussed in those closed-door negotiations?

Pay is a top issue. While New Jersey has some of the highest teacher salaries in the country, pay varies widely by district — and Newark’s median teacher salary is slightly below the state average. Teachers will be looking for a raise.

How they get those raises is also a hot topic. The current contract awards bonuses to top-rated teachers and restricts raises to teachers rated “effective” or higher. Observers will be watching closely to see whether the new agreement continues to link pay to performance.

The contract also covers employee health benefits, teacher training and planning time, and the wages of per-diem teacher aides (who currently earn just $15 per hour). All of that could be tweaked as well.

Read the full story here.

What to watch

What else is happening around Newark schools.

Newark schools — traditional and charter — have made big gains since 2006, new report shows

  • What to know: Newark students are better off academically today than in 2006, according to a new report — though which policies drove the improvements is still hotly debated.
  • The new report was produced by a private firm called MarGrady Research and funded by a Newark nonprofit that supports charter schools and promotes district-charter collaboration.
  • The report makes clear that Newark’s charter schools, on average, continue to outperform the district on the state tests.
  • Yet Newark’s traditional schools have also made gains.
  • The district had more low-income students pass the PARCC tests than other large districts, including Baltimore and Chicago — and its graduation rate has steadily climbed.
  • Still, about 15,000 Newark students (out of about 50,000) attend chronically low-performing schools, the report found.
  • One big question: Will the citywide gains continue now that the district is back under local control?

Newark news & events

Local education reporting and upcoming events.

‘First in flight’…

  • Eagle Academy of Young Men in Newark, the state’s first all-boys public school, celebrated its first graduating class last week. Chalkbeat

Real-world learning…

  • Over 1,300 Newark students made regular visits to a local watershed to learn about water treatment and engineering. TAPinto Newark, Newark Patch

Financial aid…

  • The Victoria Foundation is giving $800,000 to organizations supporting projects at Newark public schools. TAPinto Newark

Safe travels…

  • CoachUSA is providing a free bus service to take students home from West Side High School’s popular after-hours program, called “Lights On.” PIX11

Award winners…

  • The head of a Newark charter school, the chancellor of Rutgers University-Newark, and Prudential Financial all received leadership awards. TAPinto Newark 

Team players…

  • Avon Avenue School helps motivate students to come to school with a flag football team, which competes in national championships. PIX11


  • An electrical engineering student at NJIT landed a job at City Hall after handing out resumes on the street., Newark Patch

NPS events…

News from Trenton & beyond

Reporting on statewide education issues that matter for Newark. 

College costs…

  • A new analysis projects that the average four-year college in New Jersey will cost $256,000 for four years of tuition and fees by 2037.

College readiness…

  • At a recent panel discussion, college and business leaders jumped into the debate over New Jersey’s graduation requirements and the skills graduates should have. NJ Spotlight
  • Op-ed: A new report by an education advocacy group says there is a wide gap in some districts — including Newark — between the percentage of students earning diplomas and those meeting college-readiness standards. NJ Spotlight

Extra credit

Want to showcase your school or an upcoming education event? Send me photos and details.

Students from the Class of 2019 at KIPP New Jersey’s Newark Collegiate Academy.

Photo credit: KIPP New Jersey