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SPRINGFIELD SCHOOLS Board, union approve new pact

By Virginia Ross

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

The union and board got the deal done well before the old contract expired.
NEW MIDDLETOWN -- The Springfield Board of Education and the union representing district teachers have agreed on a new three-year contract, six months before the current agreement expires.
The new agreement, which takes effect Sept. 1 this year, continues through Aug. 31, 2007. The current three-year pact was set to expire in August.
The Springfield Local Classroom Teachers Association, representing 76 teachers, and the school board approved the new contract last week at a ratification meeting and special board session.
The agreement calls for salary increases of 2 percent the first and third years and 3 percent the second year. Base salaries for teachers start at $27,347.
The pact also stipulates the school district must employ at least 72 teachers at all times. Elementary and intermediate school teacher-librarians may be eliminated by attrition.
Possible savings
School officials reported they anticipate various changes in medical coverage likely will save the district $1 million over the life of the contract. Teachers will continue paying 10 percent of their health-care premiums, which they have done for the past 15 years. The district agrees to provide a $50,000 life insurance policy per teacher regardless of annual salary.
An early-retirement incentive was extended for one year, and the agreement carries a vision-care reimbursement of no more than $300 per employee during the life of the contract. School administrators and union representatives said they were pleased the two sides were able to reach an agreement as quickly as they did.