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PATERSON, SEPT. 17 – The Paterson Public Schools and the Paterson Education Association (P.E.A.) are beginning the 2009-2010 school year with a fully ratified employment contract.  Staff members voted overwhelmingly in favor of the new contract, which will cover the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years.

Both parties expressed that they are pleased to begin the new school year with an agreement that recognizes the excellence of district faculty and also the financial challenges of Paterson Public Schools given the difficult economic times.

Dr. Donnie W. Evans, State District Superintendent, commented: “We thank P.E.A. President Peter Tirri and the Association for their spirit of collaboration and hard work.  I am pleased that all parties put the interests of our students first.  As we strive to improve student achievement in our schools, I look forward to the benefits of this important district partnership. It’s a great day for Paterson Public Schools.”

Terms of the contract provide for a first year wage increase of 2.3 percent at maximum salary and payment of increments for the 2008-2009 school year.  The second year of the two-year agreement provides a 4 percent salary adjustment including increments for bargaining unit members. Salary guides based upon those figures were developed and submitted to the members prior to their voting.  Healthcare benefits, another issue of importance to members, will continue to be provided by the district at no charge. 

Members of the P.E.A. voted to approve the two-year agreement on Wednesday, September 9, after the 3,435-member organization initially met with Mr. Tirri during the September 1, 2009 All-Staff Meeting.

Commenting on the agreement, Tirri said: “The vast majority of our members supported this package.  They began this school year facing the possibility of no salary increases since the 2007-08 school year and clearly understood that this settlement was important for their financial well-being and in line with the ability of the district to pay.”  Tirri continued, “It is our hope that, with these negotiations completed, we can all get back to what we do best; teaching the children of Paterson.”

Paterson Public Schools is New Jersey’s third largest school district, with 28,000 students in pre-school to grade 12.  For more information, visit