(File photo)

School district, teachers ink pact

Teachers at Millington Community Schools are getting a raise.

The school district and the teachers’ union – the Millington Education Association – agreed in late June to a two-year contract. That contract was ratified Aug. 5 by the board of education. It already had been ratified by the union’s 59 members.

“I truly believe this is a win-win for both parties,” said Superintendent Larry Kroswek.

The agreement calls for a two percent wage hike in the first year, and no raise in the second.

“We actually built our budget, pro-rated out for three years, for 1, 1, and 1 percent increases,” said Kroswek. “This falls right within what we actually budgeted for.”

Kroswek said the two sides had five or six negotiation sessions before reaching an agreement. And those talks came after the May 7 election, when the school district’s sinking fund bond issue was on the ballot.

“Our teachers’ union was very cooperative in helping us pass the sinking fund, and then patient in letting us negotiate after the election,” Kroswek said. “No matter how the election went, they were patient and very cooperative in that sense. They really wanted that sinking fund passed.”

There also were some minor changes in the contract language as well.

“Some of the things we looked at together were cost-savings for the district,” Kroswek said. “We looked at being able to have language changes for better administration and management of the district. Also we looked to see where we were in the second year and to reopen negotiations in just the financial areas.”

The school board also:

• Approved the purchase of $6,660 in math workbooks for Kirk Elementary School from McGraw-Hill Education of New York. “They are consumables,” Kroswek said. “You can’t reuse them. That is why you have to replace them every year.”

• Approved keeping Jason Germain as the district’s athletic director.

• Approved paying Design Forum of Grand Rapids for work done on the renovation designs for the Meachum Junior High School building. That money will come out of the sinking fund income.

• Approved the purchase of $78,480.86 in improved network switches for the district’s technology network. The Federal Communications Commission’s Universal Service Fund “e-rate” money, which is meant for telecommunications services, internet access and internal connections equipment for eligible schools and libraries, will cover 80 percent of that expense, or $62,784.69. The remaining $15,696.17 owed by the district will be paid out of the sinking fund.

• Recognized the Terrence S. Kaiser and Barbara A. Kaiser Foundation for its donations to help provide Chromebook computers for elementary school students and to the Eastern Michigan Food Bank to fund a backpack program for grade K-8 students.

• Recognized the donation from the Tuscola County Community Foundation to purchase Chromebook computers for use in athletics for statistics, data and the running of competitions.

• Recognized the donation of the Kirk Elementary Parent-Teacher Organization to provide two water fountain bottle-filling stations at the renovated Meachum building.

• Learned the first Art and Luella Saeger Volunteerism Award will be given to Gerry and Barb Smith. The presentation will be made during an upcoming home basketball game.

• Approved a new junior/senior high school course offering guide.

• Authorized Kroswek to resolve any outstanding personnel issues left over from the 2018-19 fiscal year.

Mark Haney is a staff writer for The Advertiser. He can be reached at haney@tcadvertiser.com.

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