Teachers’ union in Frankfort OKs wage freeze
By Susan DeMar Lafferty email@example.com April 27, 2012 7:52PM
Updated: June 7, 2012 8:04AM
FRANKFORT — A four-year teachers’ contract has been approved in Frankfort School District, freezing wages and benefits for the first year.
The school board ratified the contract April 16 and the Frankfort Teachers Association members voted two days later, with 73 percent approving it. Both sides called it a collaborative and fiscally responsible deal.
Teachers previously had a five-year contract with annual raises of 6 percent. Superintendent Tom Hurlburt said officials wanted to avoid a long-term contract to give the district some flexibility in uncertain economic times.
The second year of the new pact gives teachers a 2 percent raise, freezes stipends and has teachers contributing 5 percent of their health insurance premiums. The school district had been paying 100 percent of the premiums. Teachers also will get one additional teacher institute day at the beginning of the school year for professional development.
Financial issues, such as salary, insurance and stipends, in the third and fourth years of the contract were left open to be reviewed at that time.
“A main point during the negotiations was how to make the contract work without job loss,” Hurlburt said. “This is a very fair and equitable contract, with awareness of fiscal responsibility and the quality of education.”
For the past several years, staff has been reduced through attrition. Next year, five teachers will retire and not be replaced, he said, adding that he does not anticipate releasing any staff.
In the last contract, salaries were increased to make them more competitive, the superintendent said.
The negotiating team — which included Hurlburt, three board members and three union representatives — met five times since January.
“The board is committed to being fiscally responsible for our community and taxpayers. We are fortunate as a district to have an association that understands and respects that goal as well,” board president Brian Klene said in a news release.
Hurlburt said administrative salaries for next year will be discussed at the May school board meeting.