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At last night’s District 208 school board meeting, the Riverside-Brookfield High School teachers union offered to work off of this year’s salary schedule for the next two years – if district voters approve a tax hike referendum for RB next spring.

The school board voted unanimously last night to approve a resolution stating that the district intends to ask voters in April 2011 to approve a tax hike to fund RB.

This means that RB teachers would forgo some scheduled pay raises called for in the next two years in its current contract, which runs until 2013. For most teachers with 20 or more years of experience, this would amount to a total pay freeze unless they are retiring in the next couple of years. But teachers with less than 20 years of experience would continue to get seniority-based step salary increases under the proposal.

Under the proposal, a 10-year teacher with a master’s degree making $79,790 this year would earn $82,840 next year, a raise of about 3.7 percent. But under next year’s salary schedule that teacher would have been paid $84,844.

Teachers could also get salary increases if they earn enough graduate school hours to move into another lane on the salary schedule.

“Our proposal will save the district and taxpayers $850,000,” said Tom Fuller, the president of the Riverside Brookfield Education Association (RBEA) and an English teacher at RB. Bonnette said he agreed that the plan would save the district $850,000 over the two-year period.

“I really do thank them for their interest, their dedication to the school, to the kids here, to the community, and that I appreciate it very much,” Bonnette said.

Fuller said if the referendum does not pass the proposal will be “null and void.”

“We don’t want to see the school become decimated,” Fuller said. “The programs that we have are magnificent, and we want to keep it that way. It’s not something where we can look at the taxpayers and say it’s all on you, and it would be just as unfair for the taxpayers to look at us and say, well, it’s all on the teachers. We’re a partner.”

On Friday the members of the RBEA voted 99-4 in favor of the proposal.

District 208 school board President James Marciniak had a short response to the RBEA proposal.

“A very thoughtful and thought provoking proposal,” Marciniak said.

Also, at last night’s meeting the school board voted 4 to 3 to approve a budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year that projects an operating deficit of $2,226,756.

For more information see the Sept. 22 of the Landmark.

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