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No strike — yet

MUSD, MUTA reach agreement until June

Madera teachers have voted to accept Madera Unified’s latest offer in the contract negotiations that have been under way for several months between the teachers’ union and the district.

According to Kent Albertson, Chief Human Resources Officer for Madera Unified, the teachers have voted to ratify the agreement that had been reached between the bargaining units of both parties.

The settlement calls for a two percent, across-the-board salary increase and the maintenance of the district’s contribution to the employee health benefits.

The salary increase means that the annual salary at the bottom of the salary schedule will go from $45,055 to $45,956.

The salary at the top of the teachers’ pay scale will move from $85,899 to $87,616. In addition, stipends for longevity and graduate degrees will continue to be added to the base salary, which increases automatically according to years with the district and units beyond the bachelor’s degree.

The district will continue to contribute $17,200 per employee to the health package and will continue to increase that contribution by three percent annually, regardless of whether the cost of health insurance increases or not.

This provision, called an escalator clause, has been the main source of disharmony between the teachers and the district. The school board has been pushing for a “cap” on its contribution to the employee health package, while the teachers have been holding firmly to their demand for continuing the escalator clause.

The newly amended contract, which will be finalized by trustees on their April 30, 2019, meeting, will run until June 30, 2019. At that time, negotiations will begin on a brand new contract.

Unlike the current negotiations, which were limited to salary and benefits, the new contract talks are expected to deal with a full range of issues such as class size and employee transfers in addition to salary and benefits.

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