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(Editor's note: following is a press release from the school district. We've included it in this issue because so many readers have asked us about the details of the contract. Next week's issue will include a more detailed article with comments from local residents.)

Early in the morning of Sept. 4, 1998 the Port Washington Union Free School District and the Port Washington Teachers Association reached agreement on a successor contract to the one that expired on June 30, 1998. The new agreement is effective July 1, 1998 through June 30, 2001. The negotiations process, which began in April, followed several months of preparation on the part of the Port Washington Board of Education and the Port Washington Teachers Association. The resulting contract followed intensive and lengthy negotiations. Highlights include:

There will be an additional 15 minutes of instructional time per day for students. The school year will continue to be 183 days, all of which may be used for instruction. The calendar will continue to hold standard recess periods in December, February and March or April, although there will no longer be need to continue the long-standing concept of eight weeks of school to one week of recess. Elementary teachers will arrange for one evening parent/teacher conference which will be held in the fall during the same week as the daytime parent/teacher conferences. This would result in a reduction of one daytime parent/teacher conference day by the same amount of time devoted to an evening parent conference. There will be an increase of three percent in the first year of the contract, 3.25 percent in the second year of the contract, and 3.75 percent in the third year of the contract. All of these increases are plus increment.

Those teachers with individual health insurance coverage will make an increased contribution for such coverage. This will be 4 percent for 1998-99 and 5 percent for each of the two subsequent years of the contract.

There are other changes in the contract. However, we have chosen to highlight those in which it is felt there would be the most interest on the part of the community. As is true, with all negotiations the settlement reflects give and take on the part of both parties with a mutually satisfying conclusion.

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