BADGER SCHOOLS OEA rep: Everyone 'is happy'

Pay raises alone will cost the district $1 million over the life of the contract.
KINSMAN -- Teachers in the Badger School District were working today under a new contract, which includes a 6-percent raise and a signing bonus.
"Everybody is happy," said Mike Matusick, a representative of the Ohio Education Association, who worked with the local union during negotiations.
"I'm always pleased when we get a settlement, and I think this is the beginning of the Badger Education Association improving its position among other districts in Trumbull County," Matusick said.
Badger teachers were the second-lowest paid in the county, Matusick said. With the new contract, they are still in the bottom half.
Teachers, who ratified the contract Monday, will get raises of 4 percent in the second and third years of the three-year contract unanimously approved by the board of education Tuesday. They also got a signing bonus worth about $110 per year of experience, Matusick said.
Salaries: In the first year of the new contract, Badger teachers will earn between $24,301, for a teacher with a bachelor's degree and no experience, to a maximum of $53,218.
Health-care packages were also improved. The district will now pay 100 percent of their dental and prescription plans, up from 90 percent before, and will now also pick up a $5 or $10 monthly fee for hospitalization coverage, said Superintendent Richard Pachuk.
"It is good for the district," said David Hardman, a member of the board of education. "Any time that you settle a contract, it is good."
Teachers threatened to strike if they did not have a contract by today. Their previous pact expired on Friday. A walkout would have been the first in the district's 41-year history.
The raises alone will cost the school district more than $1 million over the three-year life of the contract, Pachuk said.
Budget: The contract will put the district in the red this year, as a result of the one-time signing bonus, which is pegged to 4 1/2 percent of the teachers payroll.
The pay increase for the 74 teachers is going to make accomplishing other district goals more difficult, said Joseph Logan, a school board member.
Money that is going toward the salaries could have been used to expand language offerings in the high school or add foreign languages to the middle school curriculum, he said.

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