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Platteville teacher contract approved by board
PEA must OK by Oct. 15 to ratify
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The Platteville School Board approved contracts with two of its unions Monday night.

The school board approved contracts with the Platteville Education Association, the teacher union, and Platteville Educational Support Personnel, which represents non-contracted staff, for this school year.

The contracts require approval of PEA and PESP by Oct. 15 to be enacted.

Platteville teachers are paid on two salary schedules. The old schedule increases pay based on years in service and post-graduation credits. Teachers paid in that schedule will receive $1,000 raises.

The new schedule increases pay for receiving a master’s degree and national board certification. Teachers paid in that schedule will receive raises of $1,000 to $2,500.

According to the state Department of Public Instruction, in the 2011–12 school year teacher salaries in the Platteville school district range from $36,803 to $65,551. The average full-time teacher salary was $58,924.

The average teacher experience last school year was 21.22 years in education and 17.78 years in the school district.

The PSEP contract includes pay increases of 47 cents to $1.08 per hour.

The additional question mark with at least the PEA contract is a Dane County circuit judge’s ruling invalidating parts of the state public employee collective bargaining reforms enacted by the Legislature in 2011. Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is appealing the decision on what is known as Act 10 to the state Court of Appeals.

“There is no agreement as to whether that does affect us out in Platteville” or if it only affects the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the Madison school district, said district superintendent Connie Valenza.

The court decision expands what school districts and their teacher unions are able to negotiate — “permitted, not mandatory, not prohibited,” said Valenza. The law banned negotiating on most teacher contract provisions except for salary.

“Unlike many school districts, we did go through the entire process” of getting staff feedback in creating the school district’s employee handbook, which replaced most of the teacher union contract, said Valenza. “I don’t believe anybody would say as accurate of the Platteville school district” that the school board wrote the handbook without staff input. “I do think our process was pretty inclusive. I’m not sure that all that much would change.”

With different legal opinions about what the Dane County judge’s ruling affected, she said, “I would say we’re probably looking at years of litigation with Act 10 ... in a good scenario, two or three years with Act 10 in the courts.”