(Publisher’s note: the exact amounts for health insurance have been included and this is the district’s contribution to those costs. These corrections are noted in bold type. )
The 142-member Chelsea Education Association (CEA) and the Chelsea Board of Education have come to an agreement on a two-year contract that includes a 2-percent wage increase.
The contract began Sept. 10, 2012 and continues through June 30, 2014.
The teachers, who had been without a contract since July 1, ratified the new deal on Friday, Sept. 7 and the Board of Education unanimously approved it Monday, Sept. 10, following an about 35-minute closed session.
The last two teacher contracts have been one-year deals, which did not include wage increases.
“There’s an opener for spring for wages and insurance,” said Rick Catherman, president of the CEA.
He explained that because of the transition from former Superintendent of Schools Dave Killips, who retired this summer, to a new administration, contract talks took a little longer than usual.
Superintendent of Schools Andy Ingall said in an email Tuesday morning that “the scale was extended from 11 steps to 15 steps and teachers adjusted to new scale unharmed.”
Ingall said, “Teachers that had an “effective” or “highly effective” evaluation (based on the new state guidelines) will receive a step increase.”
Catherman characterized the negotiations, as “not just about money; there was an emphasis on education,” adding that “The association is behind Andy and what he brings to the school district.”
With the new contract, there were slight increases to the district for health insurance costs, and this is an area that Catherman said the union and the district have been working on for years. He said changes to insurance benefits began about 10 years ago.
With the new contact, teachers will be paying slightly more for their health insurance costs as well.
The district will pay $5,425 for a single teacher, $10,750 for a couple and $14,500 for a family for health care costs.
Although the district made changes to the insurance “hard caps,” Ingall said, “Ours are still below the state maximums.”
The district got good news as far as student count as well. There were 120 new students in the district in 1st-12th grade, not including the 138 kindergarteners.
“We have a shot at breaking even; we’ll be flat or down maybe 10 (students) from last year,” Ingall told the full board Monday night. This is much better than a projected loss of 70 students for the year.
In addition, all classes in the high school topped 200 students with the exception of the junior class, which has 196 students.
And, although North Creek is among the “Focus Schools” in the district, which must work toward closing the gap between the lowest 30 percent of student achievers and the top students, no parents asked to transfer their children out of the district to another school.
Parents were given the option of having their children attended another school because of the designation.