Board OKs pay hike for teachers

By David Fleet
Goodrich-On Monday night the school board of trustees voted 7-0 to approve contract changes with the Goodrich Education Association.
District Superintendent Ryan Relken outlined the contract changes during the meeting.
On June 23 the school district and the GEA reached a tentative agreement on wages and contract language for 2018-19. The agreement approves all teachers that are eligible a step on the teacher pay scale and a 2 percent increase across all lanes to be added to Step 10. The teacher agreement introduces professional collaborations work sessions which will occur up to 18 times per school year and be no longer than 70 minutes in length. The GEA membership voted on and ratified the teacher contract changes on Aug. 21.
The school calendar is also under the collective bargaining agreement. The five additional days were necessary to allow for the professional development days for teachers.
“There’s was not enough collaborative time for teachers to develop the instructional experience that students need,” said Relken. Once the State of Michigan stopped allowing school districts to count professional development as hours of instruction, they still had to provide five days of professional development. Those days could no longer count toward the required 180 student days.
The GEA represents a bargaining unit of roughly 100 educators.
Marty Zmiejko is the Uniserv Director for the Michigan Education Association.
“There was a slight pay increase for the 2017-18 school year,” said Zmiejko. “Teachers who were eligible received a step increase and those who had maximized their steps received a bonus of $500.”
“The biggest concern from teachers was that the additional professional development time would result in less contact time with students,” he said. “Teachers felt that the additional professional development opportunities, while valuable, would not be worth the decrease in contact time. This was and continues to be a discussion centered around what is best for the students of Goodrich Area Schools. The GEA continues to engage in regular, productive discussion with Mr. Relken and his administrative team on this topic. We believe that this is a conversation worth having as we move forward and begin planning for future school years.”