Three-year Schalmont teacher contract approved

Schalmont teachers have a new three-year contract with 3.5 percent annual raises.

District officials and members of the Schalmont Teachers Association have agreed on a new three-year contract, bringing to an end negotiations that spanned more than two years.

Members of the district’s Board of Education on Monday approved the 200-member union’s new contract, which closely mirrors suggestions offered last month by a fact-finder from the state Public Employment Relations Board. One of the most significant suggestions made by the fact-finder was that the teachers agree to switch from the district’s self-funded health plan to preferred provider organization insurance through the Capital Area School Health Insurance Consortium.

The self-funded plan, which covers 24 union members and 88 retired teachers, was dropped by Schalmont’s other two unions and is used by only one other district in the county. School board chairman Michael DellaVilla said the switch should save Schalmont roughly $320,000 during the 2008-2009 school year.

In return, the teachers will receive an average annual salary increase of 3.5 percent. The pay hike will be retroactive and cover all three years of the contract, district Superintendent Valeri Kelsey said.

The contract will expire in 14 months.

“It’s just a three-year agreement,” she said. “We’ll be back to the drawing board next January.”

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