by Mickey Smith
The Lamoille South Supervisory Union (LSSU) has announced they have reached a two-year agreement on a new salary schedule for the educators in the Morristown and Stowe school systems.
LSSU Superintendent Tracy Wrend said based on previous practices the new salary schedule will also be implemented at the Elmore Lake School. Where the one teacher at the school is not part of the union, but she said they have had a long standing policy to treat that position the same as if it was under the master agreement. She said they also do this with the school district’s non-unionized support staff as well.
This contract represents balancing of the fiscal situations at the varying schools, putting all teachers on the same schedule moving forward. In order to meet this, Wrend said all four parties, the school boards from Morristown and Stowe and the Morristown Educators’ Association and the Stowe Teachers’ Association, sat down at the same table to work out the agreement. She said they used the framework of a 3.1% increase, but pointed out there were “gives and takes” on all sides in order to get everyone on the same page. The final agreement, though, still had to be ratified by each of the school boards separately.
Health insurance is a part of the agreement, and one area where the two schools contracts have differed in the past. Morristown has a high deductible plan, of which they did not pay a percentage. Under the new agreement, Morristown educators will pay 7% in year one and 8% in year two. Stowe has a choice of two plans, in their high deductible plan the educators percentage will drop from 9% to 8% in order to bring the two schools together. They also have what is called a managed plan, which people enrolled in that plan will pay 14%.
Wrend said they feel they will be able to maintain these options going forward as the schools are brought into the exchange program of the new healthcare system.
Wrend said the new contract aligns the schools salaries, while working into the framework of the budget passed by voters in Morristown this past Town Meeting.