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Published: Wednesday, 5/23/2012

Springfield school board OKs teachers' contract


The Springfield Local school board unanimously approved a contract today that calls for a pay freeze and for teachers to pay an increased share of health insurance premiums.

Members of the Springfield Education Association voted to ratify the agreement Tuesday.

The previous contract expired June 30, 2011. The effective date of the new agreement is July 1, 2011, but the economic concessions begin July 1, 2012.

The contract expires June 30, 2013.

Kathryn Hott, superintendent of schools, said that the agreement freezes all pay, including base wages and so-called step increases — that is, automatic pay hikes based on longevity. It will save the district about $300,000, she said.

In addition, teachers’ will pay a 12.5 percent share of their health insurance premium, an increase from the 10 percent share they now pay. That will save the district an additional $100,000.

The school board had two goals in negotiations, Ms. Hott said: reaching an agreement that was fair to teachers “and then ensuring we have some financial stability, without having to go back in November and ask for more operating money. The teachers worked with us. It took us a while, but we got there.”

The two sides reached agreement May 11, days after union members voted to allow their representatives serve the district with a 10-day strike notice.

Last month, teachers ratified a fact-finding report that included a two-year salary freeze and a freeze on automatic longevity pay raises in the second year and an increase in teachers’ share of premiums to 12.5 percent from 10 percent. The school board rejected that fact-finding report.

The union represents 233 teachers, guidance counselors, librarians, psychologists, and other district employees.

— Mark Zaborney

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