The old thee-year contract was due to expire in 2010, and the teachers union, the Albany Teachers Association (ATA), and the Albany Unified School District agreed to continue working under its provisions until a new agreement was reached, said Kerry Dunigan, ATA co-president.
"It's really been a kind of a waiting game," said Dunigan, adding that the two sides were unsure about the direction of the shaky economy and especially about whether state voters would pass Proposition 30, which provided for temporary tax increases that would increase school funding. It passed last November.
The new three-year contract was tentatively approved by the school board on Oct. 8, subject to an "AB1200 analysis," a review intended to make sure the district is financially able to meet the obligations of the contract.
The main highlights of the new contract include the 4 percent raise, retroactive to July 1, and the inclusion in the contract language of the district's payment for health insurance, said schools Superintendent Marla Stephenson.
Because healthcare insurance costs have gone up, the district's increased payments are equivalent to an increase in compensation of about 1.6 percent, Stephenson said.
The cost of the four-percent raise and the increase costs of benefits is approximately 5.6% or $640,000, for 2013-14, Stephenson said.
Other highlights include an increase in preparation time for first-third grade teachers to 120 minutes, from 90 minutes, Stephenson said.
A summary of the agreement has been posted on the district website. The board approval is scheduled to occur during the board's regular meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall.
The agenda also includes public hearings on initial contract proposals from two other district employee unions – California School Employees Association (CSEA) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021.
Negotiations with those two unions will begin this coming week, Stephenson said.
The board will also hold a special meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall to review discuss proposals from six search firms being considered for the search for the next superintendent. The session also includes interviews.
Stephenson announced in June that she is retiring at the end of the current year.
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