The Butte school board accepted the administrators’ counter offer Wednesday that included an overall 5 percent raise and ends a bitter stalemate that shut down schools last week.
In a 6-0 vote, the board approved the two-year contract. The raise includes 4 percent for the “experience factor” and a 1 percent base pay raise for the 15 principals, assistant principals and directors.
The proposal also calls for a base salary freeze next year. But the deal maintains the current cap of 3o percent total for the experience factor, which is cumulated through the years of an administrator’s service. The administrators were asking for a
45 percent cap on the experience factor, but dropped the request in their latest offer.
“It’s been a trying few weeks,” Patti Hepola, board chairwoman, said after the vote. She was joined by trustees Debbie Shea, Rayelynn Connole, Ann Boston, John Ries, Linda Sorini Granger and Carol Wold.
Bill Rowe, representative for the Teamsters Union who negotiated for the administrators, said in a telephone interview the deal is fair. He said administrators received the experience factor increase they wanted.
“It was the same thing we were asking for all along,” he said. “It’s a good thing for everybody.”
Administrators’ annual gross salaries for 2010 ranged from $62,483 to $97,017.
Administrators also accepted the $25 per month increase in their health insurance premiums. That’s the only thing that can be opened for negotiation next year under the two-year contract.
Pat Fleming, a Butte lawyer representing the district, said the board was involved throughout the negotiations.
“It’s been a long process,” he said. “There was a lot of work that went into it behind the scenes.”
Granger expressed relief that the schools won’t shut down again.
“I’m just glad it’s over,” she said.
The contract saves the district roughly $1,500 this year over what it had offered the administrators, said J.R. Richardson, business manager.
“Two percent of the base would have been better for them in the first year,” he said.
But he said because the board hadn’t considered a two-year deal, he hadn’t yet calculated what the rise in the experience factor will cost the district in the long run.
Last week school closed for two days while the administrators were on strike. But on Thursday, Judge Brad Newman, following a lawsuit filed by parents, barred administrators from striking, and scheduled a Friday hearing to consider whether to make the order permanent. That hearing won’t be necessary with Wednesday’s contract agreement.