By Jordan Cohen
Mathews schoolteachers and the board of education have ratified a three-year contract containing no salary increases for the duration of the contract and increased medical premiums in the third year.
The agreement is retroactive to the previous contract that expired in August.
Schools Superintendent Lewis Lowery said that the package freezes the salaries at their current levels. The starting salary in the district stays at $30,039, and the top scale remains at $68,789.
Lowery said Mathews’ 61 teachers still will receive step increases based on years of service or advanced degrees.
Teachers hired before 2008 will continue to pay 5 percent of their medical premium until the third year of the contract when their share will increase to 10 percent.
Those hired after that date already are paying 10 percent of their premiums.
Mathews Treasurer Brian Stidham said the district spends more than $66,000 each month on medical coverage.
The cost to the district of a monthly single plan is $505.
Teachers hired before 2008 pay $26 per month for coverage, but their share will double in the third year of the contract.
The same holds true for family coverage in which the district pays $1,312 monthly for each plan and pre-2008 teachers pay $70. They, too, will pay 10 percent beginning in August 2014.
“We have been spending around $798,000 a year on medical premiums, but based on our projections, I think we’ll be saving between $35,000 and $40,000 a year with the new contract,” Stidham said.
Lowery said the board unanimously approved the package after ratification by the Mathews Education Association, the teachers’ bargaining representative.
“We’re very satisfied with this agreement,” the superintendent said.
A union spokesman couldn’t be reached to comment.