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School Board approves new teachers contract

Dec. 15, 2009

The Wauwatosa School Board last night approved a new contract agreement with the district teachers union, increasing teacher pay and benefits by a combined 4.76 percent for this school year and 4.25 percent in 2010-11.

Board members and Superintendent Phil Ertl said they were pleased to have reached a voluntary settlement, one they believe is beneficial to the district and to teachers.

The School Board approved the contract unanimously, though several board members expressed concerns that future layoffs could be necessary if state funding to schools doesn't improve.

The contract agreement was ratified by members of the Wauwatosa Education Association, the district teachers union, on Dec. 11, with 78 percent of teachers voting in favor, according to a district news release and Debbie Brent, WEA chief negotiator.

The voluntary contract agreement is the first negotiated in the district since Wisconsin eliminated its qualified economic offer law as part of the 2009-11 biennial budget. The QEO allowed districts to avoid going to arbitration for teacher negotiations as long as they offered the union a 3.8 percent annual increase in pay and benefits.

This occurred in Wauwatosa as recently as last year, when the union and board came to an impasse regarding contracts for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 school years. Some teachers protested the non-voluntary agreement, refusing to write student recommendation and cutting back on after-school activities.

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