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SCS teachers get annual raises, stipends in new contract

Springfield City Schools has a new three-year contract with its teachers union that includes annual raises and stipends.

The district’s board of education approved the pact at its Thursday meeting, following ratification by the Springfield Education Association membership on March 24. The raises and stipends for each teacher will cost the district approximately $3.3 million over the length of the contract — about 1 percent of the district’s $115 million annual budget. The teachers received no raises or stipends during the current three-year contract.

The new contract takes effect July 1, 2014 and runs through June 30, 2017. It gives teachers a 2 percent raise plus a $1,000 stipend each year. The annual $1,000 per teacher stipend will cost the district about $500,000 per year, and the raises about $600,000 per year, for a total cost of around $1.1 million per annum.

Stacey Tipler, the district’s Director of Human Resources, said there are no significant changes in benefits, only “tweaks in the language” — the most significant of which are modifications to the system of layoffs, which will now be done based on performance instead of longevity, as required by state law.

“We believe this contract will allow our district to continue to meet our goals of moving forward in the education of all of our students in a fiscally responsible manner,” said SCS Superintendent Dr. David Estrop in a press release.

SEA President Kathy Richison called the contract “a collaborative effort between administration and teachers” that led to a contract that received 85 percent approval of the membership.

“The teachers in the Springfield City School District are second to none and continue to provide every student, every opportunity, every day,” Richison added. “Even with the overwhelming initiatives that the state continues to place on us, our teachers always rise to the occasion and beyond to accomplish what needs to be done. (They) give me strength everyday.”

Board President Ed Leventhal said, “The board appreciates the SEA members’ professionalism and commitment to our students, and demonstrates their loyalty to the community we serve.”

He made a point to stress the current three-year salary freeze, “allowing the district to get back on its feet financially” and the 2 percent raises are “in part recognition of the contributions made by the membership of the SEA.” He also expressed appreciation to the community for its financial support.

Tipler also thanked the administration and the SEA for their work in finalizing the agreement.

“Both sides worked very hard to develop a fair contract that would also be best for the students,” said Tipler.

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