MORTON — The Morton Education Association has a new three-year contract with the Morton School District.
MEA members ratified the agreement Monday and the School Board approved it Tuesday, ending three months of negotiations between the union's five-member bargaining team and district administrators and board members.
MEA President Tony Feleccia, who was elected to a second one-year term in April, said Wednesday contract talks went smoothly and an agreement was reached without impasses.
"We disagreed on some matters, but the bargaining was cordial and professional," he said. "I'm open to going through the process again in a couple years."
The MEA has about 210 members. Besides teachers, the union also represents professional staff members like psychologists, counselors, speech and language pathologists and social workers in the K-12 district.
The new contract will go into effect Aug. 14, the day teachers report for the 2018-2019 school year. The current contract also is a three-year agreement.
"Three years is a comfortable number," Feleccia said. "Our union members know where we stand for three years, but the end of the contract isn't that far out there."
MEA members will receive salary increases of 3 percent the first year of the new contract, 2.75 percent the second year and 2.5 percent the third year.
A major change in the contract is a switch from a self-insured health insurance plan to a fully-insured plan through UnitedHealthcare, which will substantially lower union members' premiums, Feleccia said.
Superintendent Jeff Hill said Wednesday union members also agreed to an increased percentage of family and dependent health care coverage.
Another big change in the contract, according to Feleccia, is language that clarifies leaves of absence.
Concerns about the cost of health insurance and leaves of absence language emerged from input gathered from union members, he said.
Feleccia is a language arts teacher at Morton High School, one of six schools in the district.
Hill said the School Board and administration are pleased with the new contract, and "working together with the Morton Education Association, we look forward to continuing to provide the highest quality learning environment for our students."
Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.