Stamford schools agree to new administrators contract after union cuts its raise demands to 9.5%

Photo of Ignacio Laguarda
Stamford High School in Stamford, Conn., on Wednesday July 13, 2022.

Stamford High School in Stamford, Conn., on Wednesday July 13, 2022.

Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

STAMFORD — School officials have reached an agreement with the union representing principals and assistant principals on a new three-year contract after two city boards voted against the previous proposal.

During a meeting of the Stamford Board of Education Tuesday night, member Andy George said union members agreed to a total raise of 9.5 percent over the three years of the contract, down from the 10.5 percent agreed upon previously.

The two parties reached the most recent agreement during state arbitration, which occurred after the city's Board of Representatives roundly rejected the initial contract proposal by a vote of 23-7, with many members arguing the raise was too high, especially when compared with the state average of 8.7 percent wage increases for administrators. Those who voted against the contract also cited the city's challenging budgetary outlook and inflation as reasons they didn't support the pact.

Previously, the Board of Finance issued a negative advisory opinion concerning the contract for much of the same reasons.

The original proposed contract included salary increases of 4 percent for administrators at the top level and 3.5 percent for all other administrators in the bargaining unit for the first year, followed by 3 percent increases across the board in the second and third years.

The new deal would stay mostly the same, but would include a drop in the third year raise, from 3 percent to 2 percent.

The 1 percent decrease represents roughly $140,000.

Board of Education attorney Tom Mooney had previously warned members of the Board of Representatives that entering arbitration could cost the city between $50,000 and $100,000, and that going that route would likely not save the city any money.

At a recent meeting of the Personnel Committee of the Board of Representatives, Mooney said if the city saved $100,000 on the contract, that would be "a home run," as any more savings would be unlikely.

"I am confident, based on experience, in predicting that sending this matter to arbitration will not yield savings to the taxpayer," he said at that meeting. 

But preliminary numbers seem to suggest that going the arbitration route will save the city money, as George estimated the cost of the arbitration to be about $10,000 to $15,000.

In a phone interview, George said the city avoided going into a contested arbitration, which could have cost much more. 

"It's in everybody’s interests to not go into contested arbitration," he said.

He said the new agreement could go before the Board of Representatives if they choose to take any action.

During the Tuesday meeting, George thanked the union members for making concessions.

“I think that concludes, hopefully, the saga of the SAU,” he said.