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Teachers, school board ratify contract that includes 7.61 percent raise

Teachers will receive a 7.61 percent pay increase under an agreement approved Sept. 22.

United Teachers of Richmond members approved the agreement 648 to 167 the afternoon of Sept. 22. The school board later that evening approved it unanimously.

Teachers have been without a contract since June 30, 1998. The agreement will cover July 1, 1998 through June 30, 2001 but the raise will be effective July 1, 1999. This means teachers will receive no retroactive pay. The proposal includes a "reopener" for the third year of the contract, which means negotiators will go back to the table to discuss a few issues, including salary, for the 2000-01 school year.

1.5 percent of the increase is for working an additional three days a year. That provision will continue only as long as the state funds the added staff development days. Marta Dragos, president of the teachers' union, said she does not anticipate the state withdrawing the funding.

Another 1 percent of the raise is attributed to savings in a change in the health benefit program involving a move to CalPERS.

An additional 1 percent is attributed to adjusting the size of some secondary classes but without violating the existing contract provisions.

Other provisions of the contract include:

* Teachers will receive seven rather than six personal necessity days and will no longer need prior approval to take those days except during the first and last weeks of school and on days which would extend vacation periods.

* Principals are to notify teachers immediately when a student with a known serious behavior problem is assigned to their class. The provision also applies to parents/guardians.

* The district agrees to seek an alternative, more reliable system for providing copier service to schools.

* Starting salaries for credentialed teachers will be $32,000 annually, an increase of about $3,000.

* The last round of transfers for teachers at the end of the school year was eliminated, which will allow the district to begin recruiting for vacant positions sooner.

The 7.61 percent applies to librarians and nurses as well as teachers. Counselors, program and project assistants and psychologists will receive 6.08 percent; their increase does not include the three added work days or accompanying 1.5 percent.

Substitute rates will be increased by 6.08 percent, to $96.53 a day.

"It's a start but it isn't enough. We all know that," Dragos told the school board. "It's an important step but we still have a long way to go. It took too long to get here, but we are here."

A proposal for an increase for administrators was also approved by the board.

The agreement with the Administrators' Association includes a 2 percent increase effective July 1, 1998, and 2 perent effective July 1, 1999.

The differences between the teachers' proposal and that of the administrators are essentially the funds from the added staff development days, CalPERS adjustment, and secondary class size adjustments.

Run dates: 1999-09-22 - 1999-10-01

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