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Published: Friday, 10/1/2004

Swanton teachers get 1-year contract

SWANTON - The Swanton Board of Education approved a one-year contract proposal from its teachers' union last night under which the union agreed to a pay freeze and higher health-coverage contributions.

Judi Teague, the Swanton Education Association's vice president, said the union proposal was a response to a school board contract offer that the union rejected Sept. 1, the day after its old contract expired.

The board accepted the union's proposal last night by a unanimous vote, board President William Green said. The union rank-and-file voted on it before sending it on to the school board, Ms. Teague said.

The rejected proposal also called for a one-year wage freeze and introduced higher insurance co-payment and higher deductibles to the teachers' medical coverage. The board's two-year proposal called for salaries to be negotiated for the second year.

Ms. Teague said the union response contained other, non-monetary considerations in exchange for the teachers' willingness to accept a one-year freeze and higher medical costs. The non-monetary considerations include revised contract language and "better working conditions" for non-instructional time, she said.

"We made some pretty big concessions," Ms. Teague said.

The starting salary for Swanton teachers is $27,313, and the top of the scale for those with more education than a master's degree and at least 18 years experience is $55,719. Those figures are for 184 days of work.

Mr. Green said the contract settlement allows the school board to turn its attention toward promoting the renewal of its property-tax levy, which will be back on the ballot Nov. 2 after being narrowly defeated on Aug. 3.

The three-year renewal, nominally 6.96 mills but collected at an effective rate of 4.34 mills, generates $825,000 a year in revenue to the district

District officials have said Swanton schools will go more than $400,000 into the red this fiscal year without the money.

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