The Butte school board ratified a one-year agreement with its teachers that gives them a 2 percent raise after months of negotiations to try to hammer out a two-year contract. 

Members of the Butte Teachers' Union last month approved the contract after numerous negotiating sessions with Pat Fleming, a Butte lawyer representing the district. The union initially asked for a 6 percent raise and a $40 monthly increase in the district's payment toward health insurance for each teacher.

In the end, the district agreed to the 2 percent raise and a $25 per month increase in health insurance payments. The salary increase is on top of the "steps and lanes," which are regular raises based on each teacher's years of service with the district and education level.

Fleming had asked for a two-year deal that did not offer a raise for the 2012-2013 school year. He said in the last negotiation that the district could not guarantee there wouldn't be pay cuts or other benefit cuts next year given the tough budget constraints declining enrollment has caused the district.

As an incentive, Fleming said if teachers would accept a two-year deal without a raise in the second year, the district would guarantee no rollbacks in wages or benefits next year.

But Mike Kujawa, union president, said the teachers would take their chances next year and negotiate again. The teachers last month approved the one-year deal.

Board members Rayelynn Connole, Patti Hepola, Ann Boston, Linda Sorini Granger, John Ries, Debbie Shea and Carol Wold voted for the contract. David Kerr was absent.

- Reporter Nick

Gevock may be reached at nick.gevock@mtstandard.com.

 

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