USD 333 board approves tentative negotiated agreement

 The Unified School District 333 board of education approved a tentative teacher negotiated agreement during a special meeting on Monday.
Teachers in the district will meet at 2:50 p.m. Wednesday to vote on the proposed agreement.
Negotiations between the board and the teachers began in May.
 “We usually go into the summer, but I don't remember ever being this late with it,” superintendent of schools Bev Mortimer said.
Mortimer said that on the board's side of things the main concern was health care insurance.
 The agreement approved by the board offers a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan that Mortimer said is similar to that offered under the state plan, and a salary increase for the teachers.
 “It was a big issue for us, health insurance,” Mortimer said.
 Mortimer said that if the district remained in the state plan it would not be able to offer a salary increase.
 If the district stays with the state plan, it would see an increase this coming year of $213,000 and would be required to stay in the plan for three years, or pay a penalty to get out, Mortimer said.
Mortimer said that Cloud County Community College and the city of Concordia have entered into health care plans similar to the one the school district is proposing.
 “I feel more confident moving in that direction,” Mortimer said.

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