School Board Narrowly Approves New Teacher Contract

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On the night before Rockford students start their school year, thousands of parents, teachers and administrators are breathing easy.

School is starting not only on time, but with a new contract ready to go.

Rockford School board approves the two-year contract four to three. Member Bob Evans broke the three-three tie by saying yes. The two year deal with the teacher's union ratified last week includes a 2.75 percent raise for the first year and a 3 percent raise in year two.

However, if you factor experience and graduate degrees, some teachers will receive raises of as much as six percent from one year to the next.

Board members who opposed the contract argued they didn't have enough concrete information of the promised savings. Those are expected to trim eight million dollars off a projected $40 million dollar deficit in the district.

However, those in favor of the teachers plan believe both sides came up with a sound financial solution.

Teacher's union president Molly Phalen is thankful the bargaining rollercoaster ride is over.

"The speculative nature really concerns me. I really wanted to see how the consultant arrived at the projected savings. That information was never provided," board member Mike Williams said.

"There were times when things were going really well and time when we got really frustrated but everybody stuck it out to a conclusion that is beneficial like I said to both sides," teachers union president Molly Phalen said.