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Details released on tentative teacher contract settlement

March 3, 2011

By Tim Simard
Observer staff

In a new contract tentatively agreed upon by the local educators union and school board members, teachers will receive as much as 8 percent in salary raises over a three-year period.

The teachers union, Chittenden South Education Association, and board members with Chittenden South Supervisory Union, settled on a three-year contract on Feb. 17. Both parties released detailed information on Feb. 23, which included figures on raises and health insurance payments.

According to the data released, eligible teachers would receive a 2 percent salary increase for the current 2010-2011 school year. Raises would then increase by 3 percent in the 2011-2012 school year, and another 3 percent in the 2012-2013 school year.

While salaries will go up over the next three school years, teachers will pay more for their health insurance premiums. Each year, teachers will increase their payments from 13 percent to 15 percent by the end of the three year contract. Teachers are expected to start contributing the 13 percent beginning March 1.

Teachers and board members had been locked in contract negotiations since late 2009. While the negotiations sometimes turned acrimonious, both sides praised the other last week once settlement appeared certain.

Educators and school boards still need to ratify the contract. Teachers in all CSSU school districts – Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne, Williston and Champlain Valley Union High School – expect to approve the contract this Thursday. School boards meet next week on March 9.

Williston School Board Chairwoman Holly Rouelle said, when developing the $16.30 million 2011-2012 budget, the board anticipated a 2 percent salary increase. With the expected approval of a 3 percent increase, the administration is already looking at ways to reduce spending by reviewing staffing and personnel needs, among other avenues, she said.

“The Administration will continue to report to the boards on a quarterly basis on financial performance including how this gap is being addressed,” Rouelle said in an e-mail to the Observer.

Jeanne Jensen, CVU’s School Board Chairwoman, responded similarly during Williston’s Town Meeting Night on Monday. She said further staffing cuts could be expected in order to balance out the 3 percent increase with the approved $21.11 million high school budget. About $54,000 would need cutting to make room for the 3 percent salary increases, Jensen told the Observer.