Leslie keeps MESSA; no raises

LESLIE, Mich. - Teachers in Leslie Public Schools will retain their current insurance administrator but mostly give up pay increases under a four-year contract agreement reached this week, according to The Jackson Citizen Patriot.

After two years of bargaining, the district and teachers found common ground during a face-to-face meeting which was not attended by the teachers' Michigan Education Association Uniserv director or by the district's outside negotiator, The Citizen Patriot reported. Previously the groups were working through a state mediator.

The new contract, which expires in 2011, does not increase the base salary schedule and cuts in half the amount teachers will receive in "step" increases given for years of service, according to The Citizen Patriot. Teachers will continue to receive health insurance through the Michigan Education Special Services Association, a third-party administrator and MEA affiliate.

Under the terms of the expired contract, teachers had been paying the annual increases in health insurance premium costs, The Citizen Patriot reported. The new contract requires them to pay $1,040 per year toward the premium of a plan with higher copays and deductibles.

"It's been a long process but it's come together, and I have nothing but kudos for the association for working through these hard economic times with us," Leslie Superintendent Corey Netzley told The Citizen Patriot.

"I wouldn't say they're thrilled about it but something needed to get done," William Derr, the union's chief negotiator, told The Citizen Patriot in reference to the Leslie Education Association membership.

The Jackson Citizen Patriot, "After two years of negotiations, Leslie district, teachers reach contract agreement," Aug. 4, 2009

Michigan Education Report, "On Balance, School Health Insurance Proposal an Improvement," Aug. 4, 2009