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Published: Thursday, 5/24/2012

Deal to freeze Springfield teachers' pay OK'd by board

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Springfield Local Board of Education unanimously approved a contract Wednesday 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 new agreement takes effect July 1, 2011; the economic concessions begin July 1, 2012. The contract expires June 30, 2013.

Kathryn Hott, superintendent, said the agreement freezes all pay, including base wages and so-called step increases -- that is, automatic pay hikes based on longevity. She said it will save the district about $300,000 over one year.

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

The five school board members 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 to serve the district with a 10-day strike notice.

Last month, teachers ratified a fact-finding report that included a two-year salary freeze, 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 board rejected that fact-finding report.

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



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