The district and the teachers' local union, the Spring Lake Education Association, recently negotiated a one-year contract that includes a 1.25 percent base salary increase for the district’s 140 teachers.
The previous two-year contract, which ended earlier this year, called for health insurance concessions and a wage freeze. During the second year of the contract, teachers received a half-step pay increase.
“I am happy to see that every teacher is going to have some positive increases in salary,” said Laurie Draeger, president of the Spring Lake Education Association.
The district and the teachers union began negotiations in June.
Debi Mertz Hulverson, the local union's chief negotiator, said the two groups are working together to make Spring Lake Public Schools the best organization it can be in spite of funding reductions. She said they settled on a one-year contract instead of a preferred multi-year pact because of the low state funding and uncertain year-to-year finances.
“Until that changes, negotiations are going to be tough,” Hulverson said.
Spring Lake Superintendent Dennis Furton said he’s happy the district can give teachers a small pay hike because they “continue to be the greatest asset” in the school system.
“I'm pleased that we were able to provide a small raise to this group who has taken freezes and made concessions to help us through times that continue to be difficult from a funding perspective,” he said.