In what is considered a big first step in belt-tightening for the cash-strapped , district officials have wrapped up negotiations with the teachers union.
And at a special meeting on Friday morning, the school board approved the contract with the Lakewood Teachers Association that will run through the 2013-2014 school year.
The new contract — replacing the existing one set to expire at the end of next school year — will save the district about $2 million per year, according to officials.
With the district looking to close an estimated $12.4 million budget deficit in 2015, the district’s labor unions agreed to reopen their contracts for negotiation.
Teachers accepted a 0 percent base pay increase in 2013-2014; they’ll pay 5 percent more for health care beginning in 2012-2013; and participate in a retirement incentive program in 2013-2014, according to a press release.
“It’s a done deal,” said Lakewood Superintendent Jeff Patterson. “We’re excited about having this contract, and at the same time we’re saving the district money.”
“We’ve been working in tandem (to also discuss) other budget cuts.”
LTA president Colleen Corrigan said in a prepared statement that the union understands the , and was willing to make some adjustments.
“Lakewood's schools have been a source of pride for the community, the district, and, certainly, the teachers for many years,” she said. “So many students have benefited from the educational programs and opportunities offered in our schools … We wanted to do what we could to minimize those cuts so that current as well as future students will be afforded the same opportunities.”
The district is also expected to renegotiate contracts with its two other labor unions — OAPSE 129 and OAPSE 134 — both representing the district’s support staff.
Patterson said he will share additional proposed cost-cutting measures — stemming from aimed at gathering data from residents — at Monday’s board of education meeting set for 7 p.m. at .