Belleville District 201 OKs raises for teachers

News-DemocratAugust 19, 2013 

Belleville District 201 teachers will be getting a pay increase this school year and next as part of a new contract unanimously approved by the school board at a meeting Monday night.

Teachers will receive a partial salary step increase this year and next based on their years of service to the district, according to Superintendent Jeff Dosier. Instead of a full step increase, he explained, teachers will get 75 percent of a step increase.

"We could provide the stability of (salary) steps with a cost savings to the district by increasing it incrementally throughout the year," Assistant Superintendent Brian Mentzer said.

Teachers could also get an additional salary boost if they acquire advanced degrees.

"Our teachers do a great job," Dosier said. He described the tone of the negotiations as "very positive."

The new contract goes into effect Sept. 1 and impacts 294 teachers.

The school board also unanimously approved new contracts with the district's custodians, engineers and teacher aids.

The new three-year contracts with the custodians, members of Local Union 116, and operating engineers calls for a 2 percent increase each year of the contract, Dosier said.

The new two-year contract with the teacher assistants, members of Local 434 of the American Federation of Teachers, includes a 1.5 increase for each year of the contract, Dosier said.

The district will absorb the increase in staffing costs, Mentzer said, with money saved through employee retirements and other vacant positions not being filled.

Dosier updated board members Monday night on the progress of the district's new administrative center at 1920 N. Illinois St. in Belleville.

"Progress on the new building is coming along very well," he said. "They are doing a great job getting a lot of the stuff done fairly quickly."

Portions of the building -- the former headquarters of Dickerson Petroleum Inc. -- are being renovated.

District 201 administration offices are currently housed at Lindenwood University in Belleville. The district's lease contract with Lindenwood University ends on Sept. 1 and if the new building isn't ready to move in to by then, the district would have to negotiate a month-to-month lease agreement with the university.

In other news, the school board approved:

* Three new teachers: Joe Rujawitz, a special education teacher at Belleville West; Bryan Edgar, a teacher at District 201's Alternative School housed at Belleville East; and Chris Schaefer, a special education teacher at the district's Alternative School.

* Catastrophic accident and health insurance from Gerber Life in the amount of $4,500 to cover student athletes as required by a new state law.

Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or jforsythe1@bnd.com.

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