Source: Sherman Publications

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Teacher contract settled in Brandon School District

by Susan Bromley

June 15, 2011

Brandon Twp.- Teachers will pay more of their health costs and accept a wage freeze under the terms of a new 18-month contract approved by the district and the Brandon Education Association.

"We looked at finances from the state of Michigan and were looking hard at doing what is right for the students and all Brandon employees," said BEA President and Brandon Middle School Teacher Steve Hendershott. "Given the current economic times and the legislation out of Lansing, I think it was a fair contract for the Brandon School District and Brandon students and Brandon teachers."

Hendershott recently signed a petition seeking the recall of Gov. Rick Snyder for his actions regarding K-12 education cuts in Michigan.

According to a joint statement from the BEA and the district released Tuesday, the 18-month settlement with the teachers includes: a pay and step freeze until the end of the contract in June 2012; increased insurance deductibles of $500 for an individual (previously $100) and $1,000 for a family (previously $200); a new prescription drug plan and higher office visit costs; and employees will pay 15 percent of their insurance premiums.

There is also a provision in the contract that if the district's audited fund balance exceeds expectations all employees may receive a one time off-schedule payment. This would include all employee groups, not just teachers.

Superintendent Lorrie McMahon said the contract will save the district a little over $1 million, the majority of the savings coming from the insurance changes.

"The contract is good for the district," McMahon said. "We appreciate the negotiations, which went smoothly, and the association's stepping up to help the district work within the restrictions that all districts find themselves in. Financial restrictions make it hard for all of us and the employees have done a good job this year and last in working with us."

The contract also features a new evaluation process for teachers based on performance enhancement.

" The new evaluation is focused on offering teachers a real opportunity to look at their own practices and improve teaching," said McMahon. "It gives them a format for collaborating with their principal and fellow teachers. It exceeds the new requirement for teacher evaluation. They have to set an academic goal and how to get there… The evaluation helps us focus on education and learning, which of course is our primary purpose."