The Saline Board of Education voted 7-0 to ratify a two-year contract with the Saline Education Association. The board voted at a special meeting Feb. 2.
Teachers approved the contract by an overwhelming majority in voting by electronic ballot earlier this week. The union represents about 300 teachers, counselors, social workers and school psychologists.
Saline Area Schools Superintendent Scot Graden said that the contract improves step increases for teachers. For high seniority teachers at the top of the pay scale, they’ll receive a two percent raise this year and no raise next year. Graden said the district also agreed to increase its contribution to the hard cap.
Representatives from the SEA and Board of Education spoke well of the deal.
"We would like to thank the Administration and the SEA's negotiating team for their work on this agreement. The contract is good for the School District and well deserved for our teachers,” said Board President Tim Austin, speaking on behalf of the board. “The board feels this contract fits nicely into our budget priorities of continued investment into our classroom, providing an environment to attract and retain quality teachers, stabilize and grow our Fund Balance, as well as protecting our future with a newly created Capital Project Fund."
SEA President Tim Timoszyk thanked negotiators for their work on the deal.
"We would like to thank the School Board, Superintendent Graden, Human Resource Director, Curt Ellis, and the rest of the district negotiating team for all of their hard work,” Timoszyk said. “This collaborative outcome supports the continued excellence that represents Saline Area Schools.”
The agreement runs from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018.
Due to state law, raises and steps are not retroactive to the beginning of the year, Graden said.
The district’s financial position is much better than it was four years ago when teachers accepted substantial wage rollbacks. Two years ago, teachers agreed to health care concessions. The district’s finances are better due to the countywide special education millage, a bond issue that has taken some pressure off the general fund, some increases in state funding, stabilizing enrollment and the previous concessionary contracts.
The Board of Education settled a one year contract with the Educational Support Staff bargaining unit earlier in December, 2016.