New deal in place for Region 16 teachers

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Reg-16-OfficeREGION 16 — Wages as well as health care costs will increase for Region 16 teachers each year under a new, three-year stipulated agreement.

“I think it’s fair to say we didn’t get every item that we put out there and they didn’t get every item they put out there, so it probably was a good negotiation. … It was very, very fair and respectful throughout the entire process,” Superintendent of Schools Tim James said.

The 210 teachers in the district represented by Region 16 Education Association will receive step and wage increases in the first two years of the deal, which runs from Aug. 15, 2013 to Aug. 14, 2016. The increase in the salary account equates to 2.99 percent each of the first two years.

In the third year of the deal, teachers will receive a general wage increase of 2.01 percent but no step increase.

The total increase to the salary account over the life of the contract is 7.99 percent. The financial impact of the contract was not available as of press time.

Under the current contract, teachers didn’t receive a wage or step increase in the first year. Step increases were also frozen for the second and third year, but teachers received 2.99 percent general wage increases in each year.

James provided a summary of the changes in the new agreement to the Board of Education Jan. 23. The school board and the union didn’t have to approve the deal, since it’s a stipulated agreement. The board didn’t discuss it following a brief synopsis by James.

Negotiations between the board and union began in September. The two sides went to mediation in November than began the arbitration process later that month.

James explained the two sides met for an initial meeting with arbitrators to set future dates for meetings. Before the meetings could begin, he said, the two sides reached a settlement.

James said since the arbitration process began the contract is a stipulated agreement and only the people who represented the sides in negotiations can sign off on the deal.

As wages increase so to will the cost of health care premiums for teachers.

Teachers will pay 19.5 percent of the cost for a PPO plan in the first year of the agreement, 20.5 percent in the second year and then 21.5 percent in the third year.

The new agreement also provides teachers a new option for health care with a health savings account. Under the deal, teachers will pay 16.5 percent of the cost of the HSA plan in the first year. The cost for teachers will rise to 18 percent in the second year and 19.5 percent in the third year.