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Board agrees on contract with teachers

Teachers in the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School District will be seeing increases in their salaries after a new agreement between the Board of Education and the Teacher's Association was completed following the Tuesday, June 24, meeting of the board. The new contract is effective July 1 through June 30, 2011.

Negotiations have been ongoing since January, and the new agreement stipulates salary schedule improvements of 2.1 percent in 2008-09, 2.1 percent in 2009-10 and 2 percent in 2010-11.

That would mean 2008-09 salaries for BH-BL teachers would range from $38,480 for first year staff up to $80,340 for teachers with at least 19 years of experience.

Teachers will also receive additional pay for coaching teams or advising clubs.

It is estimated that the new contract will mean an average 4.7 percent increase in staffing costs above what the district paid for the same staff in 2007-08.

I would say that it was a reasonable and fiscally responsible settlement considering the economic environment, said Dennis Bouchard, chief negotiator for the Teacher's Association and a science teacher at the BH-BL High School. "The association and the district have always worked very cooperatively to come to a settlement."

The new contract ensures that teachers will be observed and evaluated on a regular basis and clarifies the status of teachers called up for active military duty. It is also expected to reduce the district's expenses on social security by allowing teachers to withhold funds for certain medical expenses.

District Superintendent Jim Schultz praised the agreement, stating in a press release that "the negotiating process was one of collegiality and mutual respect. Both sides of the table worked hard to move our schools forward, to provide resources that will support continued academic excellence while also recognizing the real complexities inherent in our national economic downturn."

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