It's official: Teachers in Alpine School District will be getting an average salary increase of 7.3 percent.
The Alpine School Board Tuesday approved the new 1990-91 contract. The Alpine Education Association and a board negotiating team reached a tentative agreement on the contract Sept. 17. Teachers ratified the agreement last week.The board Tuesday also approved a similar agreement with the district's administrators.
In all, the new pacts will result in a 10.3 percent increase to the total compensation package. Besides the 7.3 percent salary increase, the salary increments will be increased by 1.5 percent, and 1.5 percent will be contributed to increased medical costs.
The agreement also provides more release time for the Alpine Education Association president at the expense of the association. Coaches and other teachers supervising extracurricular activities will receive a 7.1 percent increase on stipends. The pact also includes several refinements to existing insurance policies.
The agreement comes after months of negotiations between the district and teachers. In mid-August the teachers' association declared an impasse after talks with district negotiators broke off. Teachers demanded an 8.3 percent salary increase, and the district offered an increase of 6.82 percent.
District officials said the state average teacher salary increase was 6.25 percent. But teachers said the district received more state money this year and therefore teachers deserve a bigger increase.
At one point teachers accused the district of holding back career ladder money as a bargaining ploy. But district officials said the payments were withheld because necessary paperwork was not filed with the district office on time.
On Aug. 29 teachers returned to class without a contract. A federal mediator was called in and met with both parties on Sept. 17 and played a prominent role in the settlement.
Arlene Arnold, Alpine Education Association president, said teachers are satisfied with the agreement. However, teachers are disappointed that the district did not give teachers the amount that the Legislature intended. She said the teachers and the district have a different interpretation of the legislation. It is the teachers' view that teachers were to get a $1,000 raise plus the 4 percent increase in the weighted pupil unit. She said the agreement gives teachers only about 2.5 percent of the increase in the weighted pupil unit.
"We thought that the money was there and that this was going to be the year of the teacher. But it didn't happen," Arnold said.
The new contract will result in teachers getting at least the $1,000 raise promised by the Legislature. Arnold said teachers on the higher levels will receive a larger increase, which is one area of the contract that the association feels good about.
Last year's starting teacher salary in Alpine was $15,500 - with the state average being $16,040. The maximum teacher salary in Alpine was $25,691 - with the state average being $24,210. Under the new contract, first-year teachers will start at just less than $17,000. The maximum salary will now be more than $27,000.