Many school boards around the state are attempting to renegotiate current contracts or negotiate new ones with their local teachers unions to contain costs. Here's a brief recap of some of the new contracts agreed to recently.

Hudsonville

The teachers union has signed on to a new one-year extension of its collective bargaining contract with the district. Salaries will increase across-the-board by 1.25 percent in the next school year, after going up 2.5 percent this year. On top of these pay hikes, individual teachers will also get annual “step” raises averaging 4 to 5 percent. The average salary in the district in 2009 was $59,410.

Covered employees will continue to contribute nothing toward the cost of their health insurance benefit premiums. Family plan premiums cost the district $15,279 per teacher in 2009, 48 percent more than average cost in the private sector. Teachers electing not to enroll in the district’s health insurance because they are covered under a spouse’s policy get an extra $250 per month plus the same dental, vision and life insurance as those who do take the health coverage. In both cases, these additional benefits are paid entirely by the district.

Michigan Center 

A new union contract for Michigan Center teachers will last through the 2011-2012 school year. Teachers who have “topped out” on the salary schedule will get a 1.5 percent salary bump; others will be given “step” increases that vary by employee but range between 4 and 5 percent. All teachers were given a 2.25 percent across-the-board salary increase in 2009 and 2010 under the old contract. The average salary in 2009 was $50,795.

Teachers will contribute $200 this school year and $400 next school year toward the cost of family plan health insurance premiums. Under the previous contract, teachers had contributed nothing. (The average contribution required from a private-sector employee for this type of coverage in Michigan was $2,819 in 2009.) Premiums for this coverage cost the district $15,147 per employee in 2009, or 46 percent more than the private-sector average in Michigan.

Teachers electing not to enroll in the district’s health insurance because they are covered under a spouse’s policy get an extra $50 per month, plus the same dental, vision, long-term disability and life insurance as those who do take the health coverage. In both cases, these additional benefits are paid entirely by the district. (However, if more than six teachers opt out, they will each get $200 per month and if 10 or more opt out, they all get $300 per month.)

Goodrich

The union has signed on to a new four-year contract that includes a 0.5 percent across-the-board pay raise for this school year. All teachers had been given 2.5 percent raises each year under the previous contract, which expired in 2009. The average teacher salary in Goodrich in 2009 was $59,709.

Under the new union contract, teachers will have higher deductible and office co-pays on their health insurance benefits. The previous plan included no deductibles and a $5 office co-pay. Teachers currently pay $600 per year toward the premiums on this coverage, and that amount does not appear to change under the new contract. (The average contribution required from a private-sector employee for this type of coverage in Michigan was $2,819 in 2009.) In 2009, the district paid 40 percent more than the state private-sector average for family health insurance premiums.