From WILL - News Headlines -

Unit Four School Board Ratifies 1-Year Extension of Teachers Contract

As the Champaign school district gets ready for another year of reduced spending, it has an agreement with teachers to continue another year on their old contract.

The Unit Four School Board approved a one-year contract extension with the Champaign Federation of Teachers Monday night. Teachers had voted to ratify the extension the week before. The new agreement takes effect June 30th.

Unit Four spokesperson Beth Shepperd said extending the terms of the current contract one more year was the realistic approach to financial problems that led the school board to cut spending in next year's budget by about $1.5 million. She called the agreement "a response to current financial situations and uncertainty at the state level."

Shepperd said the contract keeps teachers' salaries steady ---- with no raises except those on the step pay salary schedule.

"The salary schedule is structured so that a teacher moves up with a year's experience," Shepperd said. "They will get that upward movement. But there will be no increase to the overall salary schedule."

The extension also adds another $50 to the district's annual contribution for each teacher's Health Savings Account, for a total of $300.

A Unit Four news release quotes Champaign Federation of Teachers Deb Foertsch as saying she is satisfied with the agreement --- and looks forward to working with district officials for a longer term agreement in 2012.

Shepperd would not make a prediction on whether the school district's finances will have recovered enough by then to allow for a more generous contract.

Categories: Education, Politics