795 to 13. That was the union vote Thursday afternoon to approve a two year contract for Rockford teachers. A process that was expected by many insiders to take much longer took less than one hour. The resounding yes was after months of head butting between the school district, and union representatives. Within the last few weeks a federal mediator was brought it, and it seems to have paid off.
One of the biggest concerns for many of the teachers was how health care would be affected. Some feared increasing health insurance rates with a meager pay raise would put less money in the teachers’ pockets or at least negate the increase. They say the roughly three percent raise each of the next two years will simple keep up with inflation.
But almost all agree that breaking even is much better than the alternative, going on strike. Instead of spending time at the negotiation table the teachers now hope to move back to where they are more comfortable, the classroom.
But of coarse there is still one hurdle the teachers must jump over before they see any pay raises. The school board votes on the new contract this coming Tuesday Aug. 23.