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Tom B
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Posted - 10/19/2010 :  12:49:19 AM  Show Profile  Visit Tom B's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

I am sure the details of this will come out in the next few days.

By Denise Wilson, Staff Writer 11:46 PM Monday, October 18, 2010

MONROE — Monroe Local Schools Board of Education voted unanimously to ratify a contract Monday, Oct. 18, which freezes salaries and benefits through June 30, 2011.

The board met during a special meeting and ratified the agreement by a 5-0 vote, said Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli.

The district’s teachers union – the Monroe Education Association — also unanimously approved the contract agreement last week averting a strike.

Lolli said a joint committee — consisting of the union and administration — will be set up this spring to study teachers salary indexes and the financial condition of the district. The committee will include two board members, two teachers from each school building, three administrators, Lolli and a MEA representative.

“We’ll know about the substitute levy by January when the committee starts. The committee will meet once a week in January, February and March,” she said.

“Most importantly, we want see actually what our finances will be. How much we actually going to bring in from that substitute levy and we will make some kind of determination on what we can actually sustain as a district.”

District voters approved a 9.71-mill substitute continuous levy on the November 2009 ballot for operating expenses. The levy will raise more than $3.5 million for operating expenses and replace three levies set to expire in 2010 and 2011.

The contract agreement also calls for the district to set up joint meetings with the MEA and the administration to talk about the healthcare plans, Lolli said.

“Right now, we have one healthcare plan that offers three choices and most of our teachers take the most expensive choice, which they really probably don’t need,” she said.

“The MEA has agreed to work with Kelley Thorpe — the district treasurer — and meet with the teachers and talk to the teachers, and help them fill out the work sheet that shows them unless they need gastric bypass surgery, fertility treatments or some specialize drugs, the other plan is exactly the same plan. Its cost much less for them to pay their share and it cost less for the school district to pay our share.”

Contract negotiations are scheduled to resume this spring before the current two-year contract expires June 30, 2011, she said.

Mike Lane, board president, said he thinks the agreement is a good deal especially during these struggling economic times.

“You can’t ask people for something they don’t have,” he said.

“The district doesn’t have it, we’re not real well off financially and we can’t go back to the people for a tax levy when people need jobs and everything.”

Tom Birdwell

Opinions written here are mine alone, and may not reflect the views of other board members.

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