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Teacher contract ratified

April 5, 2016

The Schalmont Board of Education and Schalmont Teachers' Association have ratified a new contract.

The agreement, which covers July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2018, includes an increase in the employee contribution to health care premiums and more competitive stipends for coaches.

"We value our teachers and have the utmost respect for the work they do. We believe this is a fair contract, especially given the fiscal climate," Schalmont Superintendent Dr. Carol Pallas said.

Under the new contract, the teachers agreed to increase the percentage they pay toward health care premiums from 10 percent to 15 percent by the 2017-18 school year. They also agreed to taking on an active role in a district-wide task force that will explore options for health-care savings moving forward.

All bargaining units in the district will be represented on the health task force which will be researching ways to save money other than continuing to just increase health care contributions. As a group, the members will study alternatives such as higher deductible plans and other options that may benefit both employees and the district.
Coaches will see a one-time increase of 13 percent, followed by a 1.5 percent stipend increase.

"We have many excellent sports teams that compete well after the end of the regular season. That translates into a lot of extra time and effort," Pallas said. "Our coaching rates had not been adjusted for several years. They will now be comparable to those of surrounding districts."

Wage increases for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school year are 1.5 percent and 1 percent for 2016-17 and 2017-18. Retroactive pay for 2014 through 2016 will be applied to the base salary only.

"As is common practice for a school district, we continued to make provisions in our budget for salary increases --even in the years where we had an expired contract," Schalmont Business Administrator Joe Lenz said. "Therefore, retro payment under the new contract was factored in the 2015-16 budget and will not have a detrimental effect on the 2016-17 budget."

The contract also includes provisions for a joint of Schalmont Teachers Association/District committee to research the current middle school schedule. The committee will take an in-depth look at instructional time with an eye on increasing classroom time while allowing for teacher collaboration and group planning. The group will also explore how to best incorporate the fifth graders as part of the middle school.

"As a district, we are continually looking for ways to be more efficient with our staff, time, resources, and finances," Pallas said.