MUSKEGON, Mich. - Muskegon teachers will see reduced insurance premium contributions but increased copays under the terms of a new contract agreement, The Muskegon Chronicle reported.

Teachers will shift from the Super Care I health plan administered by the Michigan Education Special Services Association to MESSA's Choices II preferred provider plan, The Chronicle reported. They now will have a copay for office and emergency room visits and will move to a $10/$20 drug copay for generic and brand name prescription medication, respectively, rather than a $5/$10 plan.

Teachers also will pay 7.5 percent of the total Choices II premium, down from the 10 percent they paid for Super Care I, according to The Chronicle.

The new contract also gives teachers a small raise, according to The Chronicle. In other changes, administrators will be allowed to view teachers' lesson plans up to six times a year, rather than two, The Chronicle reported. Teachers' work days have been shortened by 40 minutes at the elementary and middle school level and 38 minutes at the high school level, though actual instructional time has been increased by about five minutes per day districtwide.

Finally, The Chronicle reported that new language no longer allows the board to "protect" up to four teachers from displacement or layoff, a provision said to help the district avoid retraining costs. The teachers union will continue to be allowed to protect up to six teachers, the report said.

The Muskegon Chronicle, "Muskegon teachers, school board reach new pact," July 4, 2009

Michigan Education Digest, "Muskegon to give away buildings," March 21, 2009