Teacher contract proposal fails to generate single comment at Ashland deliberative session

ASHLAND — No one spoke at a deliberative session of a special Ashland School District Meeeting Tuesday night, which was called to discuss a three year collective bargaining agreement with the union of teachers at the Elementary School.
The proposed agreement, whose fate will be decided by an official ballot (SB-2) vote on October 1, provides teachers with a 5.5 percent raise over the next three years. Exclusive of seniority step increases, the salary of members of the Ashland Teachers will increase by 1.5 percent in 2013-14 and two percent in each of the following years.
Estimated additional financial impact is $24,168 in the first year of the contract, $41,291 in the second year and $45,754 in the third year. The estimates are based on current staffing levels.
The teachers group represents 21.2 full-time professional staff members, including classroom and special education teachers, guidance, nurse, library and Title 1 teachers.
Health insurance changes, expected to provide $12,000 in savings for the School District in the first year, will see the district pay 87 percent of the cost of the Local Government Center Comp 1000 premiums and they will be responsible for all deductibles and co-insurance. The district had paid a portion of those under its self-insurance program, which will no longer be in effect.
Also offered as insurance option will be a Blue Choice "point of service" plan, for which the district will pay 94 percent, and a Matthew Thornton HMO plan, for which the district will pay 95 percent of the premium.
The same contract proposal failed by eight votes at the March school district meeting according to Mardean Badger, school board chairman, who said ''we thought the teachers deserved a second chance. Many of them have been with the district for 20 or more years and they've been working real hard to make changes in curriculum and adapt to new standards.''