About 100 nonteaching employees in the Middleburgh Central School District will be getting a 27 percent pay increase spread over five years under a new contract approved last week by the Board of Education.
The salary adjustments are retroactive to July 1, 2006, district Superintendent Michele Weaver said Monday.
While gaining higher salaries, employees will also begin contributing a share of the cost of their health benefits, Weaver said.
The agreement brings to an end more than two years of negotiations with the district’s Related Personnel Association, the union including most bus drivers, cafeteria staff, nurses, mechanics, clerical and custodial workers.
Previously the district was paying 100 percent of individual insurance premiums for the employee, Weaver said. Under the new contract, employees will contribute 3 percent, beginning in the current year, rising to 8 percent in 2011.
Pay and health care issues were the major hurdles during negotiations, said Weaver, who became superintendent in January.
Although actual impacts on the district taxpayers will depend on various rate categories and overall rising cost of health insurance, ”we’re talking about at least a 4 to 5 percent savings on any premium costs,” Weaver said.
The school board approved the contract in a 4-0 vote last Wednesday. Member Robert Herodes was absent.
The union ratified the contract Oct. 1, in a 79-0 vote, Weaver said.
Related Personnel Association President Terry Mickle declined to discuss the agreement Monday.
“I have no comment at all at this time,” Mickle said.
He said he might provide a statement next week.
According to Weaver, employees may begin getting the first year of their retroactive pay increases in a check within about month. A later check is expected to cover the second year, with the remainder added into later payrolls.
District taxpayers will not see a direct additional impact, Weaver said, because “we have [already] set aside funds for the retroactive raises.”
The agreement also simplified what Weaver said was a complicated process of adding annual raises, or steps, based on employees years of service.
The pact reduced 18 steps to nine.
The total 27 percent increase in regular salaries will be divided as follows: A 4.25 percent increase for 2006-2007; 4.5 percent for 2007-2008; 5.5 percent in 2008-2009; 6.25 percent in 2009-2010; and 6.5 percent in 2010-2011, according to Weaver.
Current salaries for covered employees range from a low of about $14,000 per year for starting bus drivers working about 15 hours per week, to a grade nine registered nurse earning about $33,000 annually, Weaver said.
Health insurance is also shifting to a PPO system using preferred providers for all employees hired after July 1 of this year.
Earlier hires will have the option of a Empire Blue Cross PPO, featuring a $10 co-pay for most routine medical visits, or the current indemnity Blue Cross plan.
Currently nonteaching employees pay 15 percent of the cost for a two-person or family plan.
That now amounts to an employee contribution of about $650 per year for two people, or $850 for a family of three or more, Weaver said.
Under the new contract, the district will pay 97 percent of the employee’s premium, with the employee paying 7 percent for the cost of additional family coverage in 2008-2009.
Negotiations between district officials and the union were assisted by a mediator from the state Public Employment Relations Board.