WHITEHALL, Mich. - Whitehall District Schools teachers have ratified a three-year contract that gives them a 1 percent raise in the third year and also moves them to a less-expensive health insurance plan, The Muskegon Chronicle reported.

Teachers will receive step increases in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, but the salary schedule itself will not increase, according to The Chronicle. In 2011-2012, the schedule will increase by 1 percent. Also this year, teachers and students will receive an additional day and a half off, The Chronicle reported.

Beginning in May, teachers will shift from the Michigan Education Special Services Association's Super Care I health plan to Choices II, a preferred provider plan with lower premiums, according to The Chronicle. MESSA is a third-party administrator affiliated with the Michigan Education Association that sells Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance packages to a majority of Michigan public school districts.

The district could have saved 14 percent on health insurance premiums if the switch had been made for the current school year, The Chronicle reported. Future savings aren't yet known, Superintendent Darlene Dongvillo told The Chronicle.

The Muskegon Chronicle, "Whitehall teachers get new 3-year contract," March 29, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Most School Health Care Plans Are Too Expensive For Michigan," Feb. 10, 2010