"We are very pleased with the new contract," said Donna Campbell, president of the Mountain View Educators Association, the union representing teachers in the Mountain View Whisman School District. "We had a very strong, positive vote for the new contract."
"We want our teachers to feel that they're being treated fairly," said Craig Goldman, district superintendent, noting that paying teachers competitive wages will help attract better teachers to the district in the future, and keep current teachers happy. Both of those things translate into better instruction for students within the district.
The agreement also puts a cap on the amount of money the district will contribute toward health benefits premiums for teachers. Currently, teachers who choose a mid-level plan with the district are guaranteed to pay no premiums. That may change as early as next year if insurance rates go up.
Also in the agreement, new teachers hired to the district will no longer be eligible to receive health benefits once they retire. Retired tenured employees hired prior to Dec. 6 may receive health coverage for themselves and spouses for up to five years or until age 65.
The benefits compromises, Goldman said, made it possible for the school district to give the teachers the 1.5-percent bonus and the 3-percent salary raise, which will go into effect Feb. 1, 2011.
Some teachers are concerned about the concessions made regarding benefits packages, Campbell said, but most are not too worried, since the contract stipulates that those packages may be negotiated in the future.