Utica teachers agree to freeze

UTICA, Mich. - Utica Community Schools teachers will forego raises for one year and chip in toward their health insurance coverage under a contract extension approved by the district and the Utica Education Association, The Macomb Daily reported.

The district needs to reduce anticipated spending by approximately $33 million to bring it in line with anticipated revenue in 2010-2011, according to The Daily. The contract extension will bring down anticipated spending by about $6 million, the report said.

Base salaries will not increase, and teachers will not receive "step" increases in 2010-2011 for added years of experience or for completing advanced degrees, according to The Daily. Current salaries range from about $39,000 to more than $100,000. Union officials told The Daily that the teacher share of insurance costs will be about $1,200 a year for family coverage.

"This will not solve the problem ... but it moves us in the direction of solving the problem," Utica Superintendent Christine Johns said of the contract, according to The Daily.

David Kenewell, president of the teachers' union, said teachers agreed to the extension "in order to protect the educational programs for our children," The Daily reported.

Other employee groups, including administrators, agreed previously to similar concessions that total about $1.1 million, according to The Daily. The board also has approved a variety of smaller spending reductions in transportation, athletics and elective courses.

The Macomb Daily, "UCS teachers take pay freeze," May 11, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Utica Teacher Contract: Detailed Analysis," April 29, 2010 (Contract in effect July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2010)