The dark clouds over Saline Area Schools are breaking up.
The Saline Area Schools Board of Education and Saline Education Association agreed to two-year contract that will save the district an estimated $7.5 million over the life of the deal.
The board voted 5-0 to approve the contract at a special meeting at Liberty School Wednesday. The to
Superintendent Scot Graden called it a good day for .
“I think these are the types of things we can highlight that keep Saline as a world-class community and a world class school district,” Graden said before the board voted. “As difficult, challenging and painful as some of these things are, I think this shows we all have a shared interest in Saline Area Schools.”
Among many concessions, teachers agreed to roll back salaries to 2008-09 levels. Last fall, to 2008-09 levels.
School Board President Lisa Slawson praised the SEA for coming to the table and giving back.
“You have all made significant sacrifices for this great school district, and it's great because of you,” Slawson said to teachers in the audience at Wednesday’s meeting. “We are so eternally grateful to you. We don't take this lightly.”
Slawson said the contract should help avoid some of the cuts — including the layoff of 17 teachers — called for in the budget approved Tuesday.
SEA President Juan Lauchu said it he was not surprised agreed to give back.
“Teachers are givers. We gave back because that's what was best for students in Saline Area Schools.
We didn't get into teaching for money. If we wanted to make a lot of money, we wouldn't have chosen teaching,” Lauchu said.
Graden said the district will not amend its budget until sometime after the state senate takes up pension reform, which could happen as soon as July 18. Tuesday’s budget called for $3.2 million in cuts. The new agreement with the teachers means $2 million in cuts will be avoided, though the district has not specified which cuts will be spared.
““With cooperation from the remaining bargaining units and if the Michigan State Senate takes action on the MPSERS Reform Bill that has already passed the House of Representatives, we could avoid staff cuts completely for 2012-2013,” Graden said. “That would be a great outcome for everyone.”
Among the other other details:
• Salaries will be rolled back to 2008-09 levels.
• Some stipends from the 2008-09 schedule will be reduced 10 percent for one year.
• Steps will be frozen in 2012-13.
• There is a one-year freeze on pay increases earned when a teacher earns a master's degree.
• A new 17-step salary schedule will be implemented, replacing the exisiting 10-step program.
• Extra class overages will be reduced by 25 percent.
• In 2013-14, teachers will will receive the 2008-09 salary schedule, plus 1.25 percent.
• Coaches salaries will drop to 2008-09 levels, minus 10 percent.
• The SEA and distrit would reconvene in August to review changes made to pensions. If the district shoulders the cost, the SEA could give more concessions. If the SEA shoulders it all, the SEA would ask the district to give more.
• The district and SEA would agree to bargain an alternative school day schedule in 2013-14. The schedue could add 300 minutes more than the current contract allows.
• New pay schedules will take effect after Aug. 31.
• Saline teachers will participate in a MESSA-based health consortium with Manchester and Lincoln teachers.
Saline Patch will have more throughout the day.