The Springfield School Board and the teachers union have both approved a new one-year contract that includes a "soft freeze" with no base pay raise for teachers. Some teachers will receive scheduled "step" or "column" increases based on experience and longevity, but district officials say 40% of teachers will receive no raise at all in the coming year.
As part of the deal, the district agreed to establish committees to make recommendations on three pressing and potentially costly issues for the years to come: the daily high school schedule, the issue of "prep time" for elementary school teachers, and recruitment of minority teachers and special ed instructors. Bargaining for the next contract will begin in January after those committees submit their recommendations.
School board president Chuck Flamini says the district is headed for a collision between what it wants to achieve and its available resources, but the one-year deal will provide some time to prepare for what's ahead. The contract will cost an additional $1.1 million in the current school year, nearly depleting the Education Fund unless additional cuts are made elsewhere.