GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Teachers in Grand Haven and Alpena public schools will receive pay raises while switching insurance plans under new contracts in each district, according to separate media reports.

Grand Haven Area Public Schools will continue to buy health coverage through the Michigan Education Special Services Association, but teachers will switch from the Super Care I plan to Choices II, a preferred provider plan, The Muskegon Chronicle reported. That is expected to bring down insurance costs by $600,000 in each of the next two years, the report said.

Teachers will receive a 1.75 percent salary increase this year and 1.5 percent in 2011-2012, according to The Chronicle. The estimated cost of that increase was not reported.

The Alpena News reported that Alpena Public Schools teachers will receive a 0.5 percent pay increase in 2010-2011. They will switch from Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO I to PPO II insurance, and a salary schedule giving raises for years of service and educational attainment will be restored to the contract, The News reported. The costs or savings of those changes were not reported.

Alpena Superintendent Brian Holcomb told Michigan Capitol Confidential that the district's top priority was to maintain its status as insurance policyholder rather than switch to a MESSA plan in which the district would not have control of deductibles or coverage.

The Alpena News, "APS approves contract with teachers," Sept. 1, 2010

The Muskegon Chronicle, "Grand Haven teachers get pay hike, but new contract will save $1.2 million in health insurance costs," Sept. 3, 2010

Michigan Capitol Confidential, "Budget Savings Drained and Raises Continue at Alpena Schools," Sept. 3, 2010

Michigan Education Digest, "Alpena board implements contract," July 12, 2010