Teachers agree to pay freeze

May 24, 2011

The Wauwatosa School Board on Monday approved interim agreements with the district's teachers and educational assistants that are expected to save Wauwatosa millions of dollars as it faces massive budget cuts next year.

But a similar agreement with the district's custodial workers was put on hold because several board members said they didn't have enough information about the proposal.

The School Board will hold a special session at 6 p.m. Wednesday to vote on the agreement with the custodial workers. The meeting will be held at the Fisher Building, 12121 W. North Ave.

The board approved the interim agreements with the teachers union and the educational assistants union on a 6-0 vote. Board member Thomas Jarosz was excused from the meeting.

Under the agreements, pay will be frozen for 2011-12, and employees will pay half their retirement costs as well as participate in a high-deductible health-care plan. Wauwatosa's administrators and other non-represented staff have agreed to similar terms for 2011-12.

The agreement with the teachers union, which represents the majority of the district's employees, is expected to save the district about $4 million. The proposal with the educational assistants also calls for a pay freeze in 2011-12, but that group would see a 1.5 percent increase in pay this year, as it was the only represented group that has not yet had a pay increase for 2010-11.

District officials have said Wauwatosa could face a budget shortfall of up to $7 million next year, but that assumes the cuts proposed in Gov. Scott Walker's biennial budget would not be offset by savings in the budget-repair bill.

The board on Monday was scheduled to vote on a similar proposal with the district's custodial employees, but several board members said they were uncomfortable voting on the agreement because it was the first time it had been presented.

The current contract with the custodial workers runs through 2012-13, and Human Resources Director Dan Chanen called the union's agreement on concessions "an extraordinary action on their part."

Superintendent Phil Ertl said the district also is working with the administrative assistants union - another group whose contract doesn't expire until 2012-13 - to reach a similar agreement on concessions.


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