By JENNIE ZEITLER
The Jan. 23 Upsala School Board meeting brought resolution to board members and teachers alike as both the current and upcoming teacher contracts were approved and signed following approximately 18 months of negotiation.
“It was a long process — but we got there,” said Upsala School District Supt. Gery Arndt. “It was a true compromise with both sides giving a little. We succeeded in getting a four-year contract taken care of.”
For the 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 school years, no additional pay was given for teachers above their regular steps and lanes for the first year. For the second year, a $1,000 increase at each step was agreed upon. As part of the teacher health plan, the Board and teachers also approved instituting new language for a flex plan for teachers who don’t take the health insurance offered.
For the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 school years, an additional $1,000 for each step, each year was approved in addition to 60 minutes of preparation time per teacher per day.
“It took a long time, but we’re satisfied with the collaboration between the teachers and the board,” said fifth grade teacher Jim Drill. “We’re happy. There were some more dollars there for the teachers — meaningful increases in pay, and changes made to the contract language which will be more beneficial to the kids. Scheduling will be eased, allowing more flexibility in creating better class choices and opportunities for the kids.”