Freeland teachers asking for "fair contract" at school board mee - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Freeland teachers asking for "fair contract" at school board meeting

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FREELAND (WJRT) -

(10/28/13) - Some Saginaw County teachers are advocating for a "fair contract." They say proposed lower wages are simply too much to ask for.

Freeland Community Schools teachers have been without a contract since June.

They say what the district is offering will hurt their pocketbooks, and impact their livelihoods.

Someone with the Michigan Education Association told us it would take several of the teachers a full decade to get back to the level of pay they're at right now.

"I wish I was respected enough to be offered a fair contract," said Marilyn Peters, a Freeland High School special education teacher.

Teachers, their family and freeland employees poured into the high school auditorium to let the school board know the contract they're proposing is not cutting it.

"There's a proposal of a 3 percent cut. There's some insurance issues we're looking at," Peters said.

Before the meeting, Peters and her colleagues held signs outside the high school. Peters said the proposed cuts would mean a $7,000 wage loss for her family.

"It means that it's having a hard time planning for my family's future right now because I don't know what the future holds without a contract," she said.

They haven't had a contract since the end of June. The superintendent says the district does not have a deficit right now, and they'd like to keep it that way.

He says they've used their fund balance, or rainy day fund, to help make that happen.

But they don't want it to get lower than about 15 percent, and it's creeping toward that number.

"The board of education truly respects the teachers and they're really trying to make sure we have a fair contract," said Freeland Community Schools Superintendent Matt Cairy.

But the teachers say the proposed contract is in no way fair.

"I don't think anybody got into teaching to become millionaires but we also don't think that the contract being offered at this time is a fair contract and we'd like to be able to make some changes to that if possible," Peters said.

Uniserv Director with MEA, Sue Rutherford, tells us there's no exact time frame for their negotiations, but they're hoping to reach an agreement as soon as possible.

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