With a new step pay system for teachers and some cost containment meaures on insurance, Maine Township High School District 207 Board of Education and the district's teachers union reached an agreement Friday on a three-year teachers' contract.
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One of the key features of the agreement is to expand the step schedule from 20 to 25 steps, starting this fall. It also retains teachers' insurance benefits and has cost-containment measures on insurance costs.
Teacher salaries will range from about $53,000 to about $128,000 based on the teacher's level of education and experience, according to the Daily Herald.
“This contract is fair to the taxpayers of the District as well as to our teachers and teacher assistants. It protects the long-term solvency of the District by helping to contain costs in traditionally high-cost areas. The teachers at the table understood the District’s position that long-term cost containment to protect the taxpayers was a priority," said District 207 Superintendent Ken Wallace.
In year one of the contract, the cost to the District to move all teachers to the new schedule is 0.66%. In year two of the contract, there is a one percent (1%) cost-of-living raise, and in year three, the cost-of-living raise includes a formula that will be tied to the Consumer Price Index with a minimum of one-half percent (0.5%) and a maximum of 2.4%.
“The Maine Teachers Association negotiations team and our membership at large, recognize the current economic climate and financial realities of the families of our students and community. We’ve worked diligently along with the Board team to maintain programs that attract and retain quality education professionals to District 207, while making concessions that allow the District to maintain financial strength and stability," said Mike Poehler, president of the Maine Teachers Association, the union.
The negotiations were much calmer than during the 2010 negotiations, when the board cut 137 employees, including dozens of teachers. At that time, students, parents and teacher representatives filled the Maine East High School auditorium and pleaded with board members for hours to not cut teachers or programs.
District 207 Board President Sean Sullivan added, “The contract accomplishes the board’s main objective of putting students first. We have managed to protect student programming and learning, controlled costs for our taxpayers, and treated the employees of District 207 in a fair and appropriate manner. The contract is fair to all concerned."
The contract begins August 16 and runs through August 2015. The Maine Teachers Association, the teachers' union, voted on Thursday, June 7 and approved the contract proposal, and the D207 Board of Education ratified the contract by a vote of 5-1 in a special session on Friday.