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Kinnelon Teachers' Contract Settlement Expected Monday

After more than a year of negotiating, KEA and Kinnelon Board of Education may have reached an agreement.

Members of the Kinnelon Education Association are expected to ratify a new contract with the Kinnelon Board of Education on Monday, according to a a union representative.

Vickie Walsh, a representative of the New Jersey Education Association who has been assisting the KEA in the negotiations process, said a vote of the union's membership is expected to be tallied on Monday. Meanwhile, the Kinnelon Board of Education began celebrating the settlement with comments about members' appreciation of both parties during Thursday's board meeting.

"This truly did take a village to get to this point," Board Member Marianne DeAlessi said.

The new contract will be the result of more than a year-and-a-half of negotiating, including both parties entering into a fact-finding stage with a state-appointed mediator this fall. Financial considerations and vacation allowances were the main points of contention during the negotiating process, although the parties reached a tentative agreement last month.

The board has now agreed to the terms of the new contract, which will not be made public until ratification, and is now waiting to hear from the KEA.

"We're really grateful to both parties. This was a long time coming," Board President Dr. Steven Fink said. "It seems satisfactory to both parties and we look forward to regular life and getting back to business."

Fink said that at Thursday's meeting, the announcement of the settlement may have seemed anti-climatic, but that it was the result of hard work on part of both parties. Board Member Katie Stylianou said she was grateful to all who were involved.

"We're thankful to the KEA and to the community for hanging in there with us," she said.

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