New SL teacher contract includes 2-year wage freeze

A two-year agreement is in place with Spring Lake Public Schools teachers that will enable the district to significantly reduce its labor costs. The Spring Lake Board of Education on Tuesday approved a two-year contract with the district's 132 teachers. The teachers had already ratified the agreement on Aug. 18. Teachers have agreed to a two-year wage freeze and significant changes in their health insurance plans. Teachers who are eligible for step pay raises will receive one-half of a step increase during the second year of the contract.
Len Painter
Aug 24, 2011

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.

Comments

heins1

Thank you Spring Lake Teachers
I have had the opportunity to work with many Spring Lake Teachers and I always felt good about how much they care for the student’s wellbeing. While our children were attending Spring Lake schools it ws evident they were getting the best possible education.
Reading about the teachers taking a wage freeze and accepting other changes to help our school district weather these financial times has enhanced my feeling of pride and gratitude for being a member of this community. When Dennis Furton stated it was all about the kids and that the teachers were making a significant contribution, he was right. Thank you Spring Lake teachers. You are a big reason Spring Lake is a wonderful place to call home.
Doug Heins, Spring Lake

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