Madera Unified and teachers reach tentative agreement

MADERA, Calif.

The applause in the Madera South High school gym was a much different tune for North Valley teachers Monday. They have spent the past year, usually making noise, bringing attention to their cause outside Madera School Board meetings.

"It's been six years since the teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians in Madera Unified have had a raise. Right now, on the table, is a two percent on-salary raise," David Holder MUTA president said.

For many the pay increase option is a welcomed one. The district also backed off on trying to force teachers to attend training with no additional pay, and on being able to transfer without warning.

But the biggest point of contention for both sides is health care coverage. The Madera Unified teachers association says the district is offering to pay for coverage on a sliding base rate scale. The district is willing to fund 3 percent increases annually for health coverage.

"On the flip side, it allows the district to know their medical costs and to predict it to the penny," Holder said.

In a statement issued by Madera's new superintendent, Edward Gonzalez says "The agreement offers staff well deserved improvements to salary and benefits yet still maintains a prudent financial future. The agreement was made possible in part from new state funding as well as a mutual interest in restoring a renewed and positive focus on classrooms and learning. "

Teachers vote on the new contract this Wednesday.

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