Saturday, June 13, 2009

Teachers and Administration Agree on a new Contract

It was due for a final ratification vote yesterday, but all indications pointed to this being a done deal. Sources tell us that the contract package calls for a 3.8% total package increase. Remember sports fans...that means a combined increase of salary and benefits.

One big part of the contract reportedly calls for a "golden parachute" incentive for retirement. We hear that there will be a one-time $6,000 incentive to announce retirement by early October (right around the time the final budget is prepared). It's no secret that over 80% of the school district budget is tied to salaries and benefits; and there are a lot of long-tenured educators in the district that earn a nice salary.

While there may be some outrage in this economy to offer "bonuses" to retirement, SP-EYE sees this as a good mechanism to clear some high salaries off the books and replace them with those lower on the salary grid. In fact, it actually creates jobs, which is needed to jump-start the economy.

The practice of offering golden parachutes makes good fiscal sense as long as it results in a net savings to the district. We're not sure whether this idea originated from administration or chief SPEA negotiator Janice Mertes. Regardless, it's a jointly shared vision now and needs only to be ratified. Kudos to both sides for working towards fiscal sensibility. We only wish the state would have the same sense.