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Tentative agreement includes pay increases for Janesville teachers

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
August 27, 2010
— Janesville public school teachers will begin the new school year with the prospect of working with something they went without all last year: a new contract.

Negotiators for both sides issued a joint statement Thursday night, saying they have reached a tentative agreement.


Negotiators would not immediately discuss details, but A copy of the agreement obtained by the Gazette indicates a four-year contract with pay increases each year, starting with the current school year.


Teachers went without a pay raise last year, although some earned more by advancing on their salary schedule through longevity or reaching college-credit milestones.


Teachers would get no back pay for 2009-10. The proposal calls for a pay increase of 2 percent per cell this school year plus another 0.5 percent in January. A cell is a pay grade on the salary schedule.


Some teachers will receive more than 2 percent if they are among those who advance on the salary schedule.


Teachers advance on the salary schedule by earning additional education credits or through longevity in their first 17 years on the job, so not all teachers advance every year.


The per-cell increase would be 1.5 percent for the 2011-2012 school year. The contract would be reopened to increase teachers' pay if the Midwest Region Consumer Price Index annual average increased by 2.5 percent or more. The pay raise could not be reduced.


Teachers would see a 2 percent per cell increase in the fourth year. Again, the contract would be reopened if the CPI increased by 2.5 percent or more.


Jim Reif, co-lead negotiator for the Janesville Education Association, said the agreement is conceptual, and the formal contract language has not been written.


Once the changes are written, the union will schedule a ratification vote, Reif said.


“There are a lot of positive things in there for the JEA, contract-language wise, and a lot of things we were looking for. A lot of things we wanted solved were solved,” Reif said.


The teachers had asked for major changes in the required professional-development sessions, and other items that they said would help recruit and retain quality teachers.


Teachers worked all of last school year under the terms of the old contract, which had expired July 1, 2009.


The district and union negotiators met twice this week with a mediator. They met for more than nine hours Thursday before reaching agreement.


The district’s opening offer in May 2009 was a wage freeze for 2009-2010 and a 1.34 percent increase in 2010-2011.



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