LOWELLVILLE Teachers pact provides raises, alters insurance

The new contract includes changes in health insurance.
LOWELLVILLE -- The teachers contract approved this week raises salaries 11.5 percent over three years, is retroactive to Sept. 1, 2001, and runs through Aug. 31, 2004.
Superintendent Richard Buchenic said raises run 2.5 percent on the $24,636 base salary for the first year of the contract and increase to 4 percent the second year and 5 percent the third year.
Teachers' pay is also based on years of experience and college degree.
Approval: The board of education approved the pact by a 5-0 vote Wednesday. It was approved by the teachers union Monday, averting a strike that had been set for Jan. 22.
Health-care changes were also made, switching teachers from a traditional health plan to a preferred provider plan, where teachers must use preselected doctors or pay higher costs.
Buchenic said any increases in hospitalization will be shared 50-50 by the board and teachers after July 2002.
The board handled all increases in the past.
Prescription costs also rose a bit. Teachers had paid $5 for generic drugs and $10 for brand names. They now pay $8 on generics and $15 on brand name drugs.
Satisfaction: "I think everyone's happy with the contract," Buchenic said. "We're happy to have it over."
Negotiations had been going on for 10 months. Teachers were without a contract since Aug. 31.
Cathy Russo, spokeswoman for the Lowellville Education Association, previously said teachers were also relieved to have a new contract.

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