December 9, 2008

Teachers accept less than expected pay hikes to help city weather fiscal storm

A three-year contract between the Board of Education and teachers will hold down costs and bolster instructional time for students.

The deal offers teachers a 1.9 percent salary hike in the first year following by 2.5 percent annual increases in the remaining two years of the pact.

Local 1464 members also agreed to pay more of the tab for their health insurance, rising to 14 percent of the overall cost in 2011.

“It’s fair to both parties,” said school Superintendent Philip Streifer.

Had the contract matched the 3 percent raises secured by most city workers, taxpayers would have had to shell out nearly $2 million a year extra, particularly given that the union agreed for delay any “step increases” for longevity for 18 months.

Streifer said the teachers also agreed to an extra 10 minutes of instructional time each day, which will lead to 30 extra hours in the classroom.

What the deal means is that the schools won’t face quite as big a hardship as officials feared because of sinking aid and rising costs.

Though it’s still unclear how the Board of Education ad the city will deal with the looming cash crunch next year, holding the line on pay hikes makes it less likely there will be layoffs.

City Councilor Ken Cockayne, a first-term Republican, hailed the agreement, offering his thanks to teachers for “forgoing huge raises” and agreeing to pay more for their health care.

“Our teachers, their union and the negotiating team for the Board of Education demonstrated their sensitivity by agreeing in these difficult economic times, to a minimal salary increase,” Cockayne said.


“The Bristol tax payers cannot afford to pay any more than they already are,” Cockayne said.


Cockayne took a shot at Democratic Mayor Art Ward as well, pointing out the mayor recently cut a deal with City Hall workers that gave them 3 percent raises while securing a 4 percent cost-sharing for health benefits.


That deal was approved by the City Council last week, with only Cockayne voting against it.

In June, the police union got a four-year retroactive pact that gave its members a 3-percent raise for 2007, 3.25-percent for 2008 and 3.5-percent in each of the final two years of the contract.

The contract also increased the share of health insurance costs paid by officers from the current 5 percent to 8.5 percent by 2010.


That’s the highest figure that any city union outside the school system has yet agreed to cough up.


A three-year union pact reached last year between the city and  the Bristol Professionals and Supervisors Association delivered its 54 members a 9.3 percent pay hike and required workers to cough up a 7.5 percent co-payment for their medical coverage.


I'll have more details on the contract posted here sometime Wednesday.


*******
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

17 comments:

Concerned Conservative said...

Why? Do families really need to eat? Why, they can just institute a dinner plan along with a breakfast plan and a lunch plan. We can all just live in a public commune as well.

Anonymous said...

BPSA got 9.3 % OVER THREE YEARS, or 3.1%/per year.

And we tok the biggest singular hit on Co-Pay.

Hope that makes it clearer.

Frank said...

This is better than the contracts we've had lately, but a zero increase would have been better, seeing how many of the taxpayers footing the bill have lost their jobs.

Steve Collins said...

No, the BPSA got 3 percent a year -- which amounts to a 9.3 percent increase over current salaries (because the second and third year percentage hikes build on the first one). I'm a rare journalist who can do math.

Dave said...

Kudos to Steve for knowing how to do math (Thank a Math Teacher for that).

Co-Pay hits aren't nearly as bad as pay hits because some people use them very seldom every year. Raising the co-pays stops abuse, which is a good thing.

Thanks for the great writing Steve.

john reek said...

I can't believe ken endorsed any type of contract whatsoever.
He still believes taxpayers and those that work in the city are completely different groups.
I'm burning choose coo in my fireplace and saving vote no's in my shed for next time.
merry christmas everybody

Jennifer said...

I used to be a teacher myself, so I do sympathize with teachers' salary complaints. However: like all government employees, teachers are paid out of tax dollars. When the taxpayers themselves are either losing their jobs, having their benefits cut or going without raises, how are they supposed to simultaneously afford bigger tax bills to fund hefty raises for state employees?

Anonymous said...

But Steve, you reported we received 9.3%, not 3%, or 3.1%

That was the bone of contention.

Steve Collins said...

3:11 - They did get a 9.3 percent raise over three years, exactly as I said.

Anonymous said...

Steve, at the very, very least, you could have ben clearer.

The article read .. A three year union pact.....delivered its 54 members a 9.3 percent pay hike...

When I read it, I thought it was 9.3% in one year.


You may have understood it, but the unknowing public needs to have it made clearer.

Anonymous said...

Teachers all know there is a bottomless pit of money available for them , so why not grab as much of it as you can . Nobody is going to stop ya' .

Anonymous said...

Steve,

I agree with whomever is questioning you: you said that Ward gave them (city workers) 3%, you didn't classify that that as 9.3%

Steve Collins said...

About the most recent city contract, I wrote, in part, about "a new two-year contract for the union that represents most City Hall workers that provides 3 percent annual raises."
That clearly means 3 percent each year (which would be 6.1 percent overall, for those keeping tabs).
This stuff is not exactly complex math. I'm not sure why some of you want it one way and others a different way, and so few seem to grasp either way of explaining it. I suppose next time I'll just say the workers got a raise to keep it nice and simple. And I'll put a PDF of the contract terms online and you can read it for yourself if you're the sort who wants the details.
Oh, wait, there won't be a Press by the time the next contract comes up. So I guess this is all moot. Next time, you really won't have a clue what the contract says.

Frank said...

The Waterbury Republican-American will tell us about it.

Dave said...

Steve, It's because people have lost or never learned math skills. I completely understood you the first time. In no way did I believe anyone was getting a 9% raise in one year.
Common sense people. Seriously.

Butts said...

have to believe that most, if not all, of you who are bleeding for those who are locally losing their jobs don't have a clue as to what you are talking about.
99% of the trash on this site is nothing more than political whining by idiots who can spout off while hiding behind mommy's aprons - after taunting everyone, you'll cry that you were "bullied" rather than stand up and be counted.
Hope your big asses get stuck in the chimney as you are trying to escape, with some little girl's talking doll, from under the Xmas tree.

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...

have to believe that most, if not all, of you who are bleeding for those who are locally losing their jobs don't have a clue as to what you are talking about.
99% of the trash on this site is nothing more than political whining by idiots who can spout off while hiding behind mommy's aprons - after taunting everyone, you'll cry that you were "bullied" rather than stand up and be counted.
Hope your big asses get stuck in the chimney as you are trying to escape, with some little girl's talking doll, from under the Xmas tree.





Then please...enlighten us with your wisdom