Teachers agree to insurance changes, get pay raises

ST. CHARLES, Mich. - Teachers in St. Charles Community Schools will receive annual pay raises under the terms of a new, three-year contract, though the amount will depend on health insurance costs, The Saginaw News reported.

The pact includes pay increases of 2.65 percent the first year and up to 2 percent in the following two years, according to The News. Raises in the final two years will be lowered if Michigan Education Special Services Association costs increase by more than 4 percent. Also, teachers agreed to an increased office co-pay of $10, up from $5, The News reported. MESSA is a third-party insurance administrator affiliated with the Michigan Education Association teachers union that outsources insurance underwriting to Blue Cross Blue Shield and then resells policies to school districts.

"All of our employees have taken significant health insurance concessions that will save our school district money," Superintendent Michael L. Wallace told The News. Those savings enabled the district to offer higher salaries.

St. Charles Education Association President David Schmidt said teachers have worked with the administration to maintain the district's fund equity, according to The News.

The Saginaw News, "St. Charles teachers get contract," Oct. 24, 2008

Michigan Education Report, "Health insurance: Reformed, but not resolved," Sept. 16, 2008