East Providence Budget Commission, teachers reach partial pact

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EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence Education Association, the union for city teachers, and the Budget Commission negotiating team, led by Attorney Joseph Whalen, signed off on a partial tentative agreement at the conclusion of a bargaining session held earlier this week in city.

Union president Valerie Lawson alerted her membership about the tentative pact in an email also made available to The Post.

The two sides, which continue to seek a more comprehensive contract agreement, have coalesced on three key points — healthcare coverage, personal leave and mandatory meetings. The agreement extends the current contract dated Nov. 1, 2009 to Oct. 31, 2011, through Dec. 31, 2012, with those amendments in place. It is expected the city will see significant savings under the new health insurance agreement.

The union was to present the agreement in greater detail to its membership at a meeting later this week. Teachers were scheduled to vote on the matter sometime next week.

Ms. Lawson and Mr. Whalen continue to hash out the parameters of a larger deal between the sides, specifically a new working contract for the East Providence teachers.

At its open meetings held by the Budget Commission biweekly, members have hinted they are willing to grant the instructors a modest pay increase as well as re-instituting some of elements stripped out of the last contract by a past School Committee and its legal team. Also still to be negotiated is the pay-scale for athletic team coaches and program directors in the district.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.