A contract signed Monday with the Amherst Teachers Association is expected to save at least $1 million per year in medical insurance costs.
In what a district release called “an exceptionally engaged and communicative process,” educators agreed to a three-year deal that will give teachers a one percent base increase starting July 1, followed by 1.25 percent increases in 2015 and 2016.
Longevity pay (step increases) remain frozen until next summer, but a one-time two percent “Excellence in Education” pay bonus will be given this summer.
Teachers also accepted a new insurance plan that includes higher co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs.
Talks were very short, said Amherst school board president Ron Yacobozzi.
“In my years on this board, I’ve never seen negotiations done in three and a half days,” he said. “That’s got to be a record.”
A statement from ATA president Lisa Schenk reads, “We are proud educators and came to the negotiations with the best interests of our students and our community in mind.”
Superintendent Steven Sayers said the agreement comes at a time when the district is financially sound through 2018.
He laid that achievement at the feet of voters who approved a new 4.9-mill tax levy in November and a 7.55-mill operating levy and 2-mill permanent improvement measure in May 2013.
Teachers had agreed to wage freezes for several previous years as the Amherst Schools endured financial hardships.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or on Twitter at @EditorHawk.