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New SL teacher contract includes 2-year wage freeze

Len Painter • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:05 AM

They also agreed to changing their insurance options from the MESSA Super Care plan to the Choice 2 plan. Under the change, teachers will have a $500 to $1,000 annual deductible.

Superintendent Dennis Furton said the change will save the district $600,000 annually.

“We’re all about the kids, and teachers are significantly contributing (to that effort),” Furton said this morning. “We want to thank the teachers for their cooperation in these difficult times.”

Laurie Draeger, president of the Spring Lake Education Association, said: “This contract reflects the high regard Spring Lake teachers have for the students of Spring Lake and for preserving our excellent educational program.”

Teachers and the administration began negotiations last spring and reached an agreement in early August.

Furton said he has never been involved in negotiations with so much at stake. He said the teachers understood the district’s financial predicament and were willing to share in saving the district money.

Draeger said the contract agreement is an example of how teachers have worked collaboratively with the school district.

“The rhetoric we’ve all heard from Lansing seems to call into question the dedication and motivation of teachers across the state,” Draeger said. “Well, nothing can be further from the truth in regard to Spring Lake teachers.”

She said the membership is glad to have the contract issue settled and can now focus on the “start of another great year for our students.”

The agreement will enable the district to recall six to seven teachers who received layoff notices last spring because of a projected $870,000 budget shortfall.

Furton said with cost reductions from the contract agreement and additional funding from the state’s “Best Practices” program, the district will be able to shave its budget shortfall to $100,000 to $200,000.

“This is a significant step in the right direction,” he said.

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