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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Nashua Board of Education OKs contract for paraprofessionals

Local paraprofessionals are set to receive a 2 percent raise each of the next two years, after the Board of Education approved a new two-year contract Monday night.

The average compensation package for the district’s 371 paraprofessionals is $21,439 annually.

According to contract language, the annual pay scale would rise to $21,793 and $22,851 in fiscal years 2013 and 2014, respectively.

The contract still requires approval from the Board of Aldermen and Mayor Donnalee Lozeau.

Board of Education President Bob Hallowell said the 2 percent raise is higher than the board has approved for other unions in the past, but there are a couple of reasons for that decision.

“Paraprofessionals are among the lowest, if not the lowest, paid professionals in the district,” he said Monday. “There has been a broad recognition of that by this board over the years.”

The board unanimously approved the new contract, 9-0.

If approved, the contract will run July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2014. The current contract expires June 30.

Bob Sherman, president of Nashua Teachers’ Union, said a majority of district paraprofessionals voted to approve the contract, but they wanted to voice some concerns as well.

The paraprofessionals brought up a few problems with the contract’s health care benefits, as well as the two-step freeze in the wage schedule and changes to job descriptions.

Still, he said the union is pleased with the contract and hopes for approval by the city before the end of the current contract period.

“The board president was very successful in negotiating this contract,” Sherman said of Hallowell.

Cameron Kittle can be reached at 594-6523 or Also, follow Kittle on Twitter (@Telegraph_CamK).