Stonington teachers will get 2.84% average raise in 2013-14

Stonington - Teachers here will receive average raises of 2.84 percent in 2013-14 and pay 1 percent more toward their health insurance premiums.

While many private-sector employees have seen their premiums skyrocket over the past several years, the system's more than 200 teachers have paid the same amount toward their health insurance premiums and co-payments for the past four years.

Their annual contribution to their Anthem Blue Cross Century Preferred Plan will now increase from 16 percent to 17 percent of the premium. School officials were not able to immediately provide figures Wednesday about how much teachers pay for an individual and family plan now and what they will pay under the new deal.

Under the plan's provisions, teachers will pay $10 for generic drugs, $20 for brand-name drugs and $25 for doctor's office visits.

When the two sides signed the current four-year contract, they agreed to not specify raises and benefits for the fourth year of the deal but to negotiate them later on.

The teachers worked without a raise in the 2010-11 fiscal year and then received average raises of 2.8 and 2.9 percent in the second and third years of the deal.

While the salary increase is 2.84 percent, Board of Education Chairwoman Gail MacDonald said Thursday that for teachers on many of the salary steps, most of the increases will be about 6 percent. Veteran teachers will receive less.

While the raises will cost the school district an additional $394,539, MacDonald said the insurance agreement will save $100,000 a year.

The school board is scheduled to meet in executive session at 7 p.m. today at the high school to review the agreement and then vote to ratify it.

MacDonald said she will "wholeheartedly recommend approval."

"Negotiating teams for both sides worked very hard to come to this agreement, and in the end, I believe the agreement is a fair one," she said. "We have teachers who work extremely hard and are dedicated to doing what's best for their students.

"The Board of Education understands this and understands the sacrifices our teachers have made over the past three years, when teachers agreed to austerity in terms of wage increases. However, the board also understands that the economy continues to be rocky and many of our residents continue to struggle. Both sides balanced all interests to come to this agreement," she said.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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