Archive for Thursday, May 29, 2008

Teachers approve new salary proposal

May 29, 2008

Raises and more health insurance money are coming soon for Baldwin School District educators.

A salary package was approved by the Baldwin School Board at the meeting on May 19. It was then ratified by the teachers last week.

"The teachers did ratify the salary proposal," said Mike Curran, lead negotiator for the teachers. "When we figured the money out, it turned out to be a 3.3 percent raise."

The proposal included a couple of increases in base salary and the district's portion of health insurance premiums. The plan also included a 3.3 percent salary increase for all teachers.

The salary base for certified staff was increased from $32,000 to $32,500. The supplemental base was increased from $29,900 to $31,000.

Curran was happy to finish the negotiations before the teachers left for the summer.

"That's what we are trying to do, so teachers can make decisions about whether they want to stay or look somewhere else," he said. "It helps them make decisions based on what they want to do."

The other increase came in the district's portion of money it contributes to its employees' monthly health insurance costs. The district will now pay $400 per month, instead of $250 to help pay for rising insurance premiums.

"It's wonderful to get more money into the health insurance plan," Curran said. "We've got health insurance problems and our premiums are through the roof. The company we are currently with, United Healthcare, gave us a 45 percent increase in premiums. The middle of our three plans, would have to pay $604 per month, plus a $2,000 deductible on top of that. It's nice that the district is picking up $400 of that, but they still have to pay $200 per month."

The negotiations between both sides aren't complete, but the salary proposal is. Now it's time for them to agree on language issues.

"We've finished the salary part of it, but we still have the language part to do," Curran said. "The reason we did this in two different pieces is because we wanted the teachers to know exactly what our salary would be for next year before they left for the summer. The language issues aren't as concerning for the teachers as the salary package is."

Supt. Paul Dorathy agreed, saying they will begin talking again in June.

"We're not done yet," Dorathy said. "We still have some wording things that we are going to talk about. We are going to take some time off from it and meet again in June probably."

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