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'Professional' Pay Said Necessity For Teachers

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I - f 1 I V "We teachers mustrbe treated and paid as professionals who are contributing the most important service of all to its community. "Anything less will no longer be tolerattd by the teachers in Ann Arboi', and we are prepared o tnie any action that is necessary to resolve this deplorable situation that we are in." The speaker was Ann Arbor Teachers' Association President Donald Newsted. The occasion was a rerent executive meeting with ths Eoard of Education to discuss the June 10 millage election ai.'d the status of negotiations for a 1968-69 contract. (Both the above statement and certain other portions of the speech wpre released by Newsted for publication.) The AATA has not taken a stand in support of the millage proposal, largely because it does not feel the amount is large emugh to cover, the increased salary requests of the teachers. And a statement between the two sides in the form of a 1963 69 contract does not appear to be forthcoming. Negotiaticns between the Board of Education and the AATA have been intensified recently, and Newsted said the AATA is "still hoping" to reach s settlamert with the board by June I, tne original target date. But if no agreement is reached by that cate, he added, labor mediatioi procedures will "definitely" b launched by the teachers in early June. If medintion produces no results, Newsted continued, factfinding and a general teachers' strike would be the next steps to resolto the present "deplorable situation." A meeting of all AATA members is siated for tomorrow, when a 'no contract, no work" resolution is expected to be considered. The teachers' association is presently requesting a salary and ïiiage - benefit package totaling about $1.4 million. This package would include a salary range foc teachers with a bachelor's degree from $6,500 to $11,050, and with a master's degree from $7,150 to $12,350. Current starting salary for a teacher vith a BA degree is $6,000. For a teacher with an MA, it is $6,300. The school board is offering a package totaling about $400,000. Thus, the two sides are presently at least $1 million apart. "We fee!, at this time that $6,500 is cur minimum base salary," Newsted commented. He added tlut nearly all Michigan school districts with student populatir.ns of more than 10,000 which have already signed 196869 conbacts will pay their teachers starting salaries ranging from $6 500-$6,800. In these same districts, Newsted said, most MA maximum salaries for 1968-69 range from $12,000 to $12,500. One factor in the teacherboard settlement, of course, is whether the June 10 millage package is approved, though Newsted has cautioned that there is "no guarantee" that the schools will open in September even if the millage does pass. Additional problems may arise, he said, because of possible program cuts, increased workload and "less than adequate" salary improvements which may be offered by the board. In f act, the AATA members have been advised by the as-I sociation's officers to have "at least $1,000 of spendable money" on hand in case of a work stoppage. In a recent AATA "Emergency Fund Report," the teachers were apprised of a number of ways to increase or supplement their emergency saving funds. The June 10 millage proposaL which has been termed "very irresponsible". by Newsted, is an 11.66-mill package for operations. It includes a 4.5-mill renewal and 7.16 additional milis. An additional amount of 1.09 milis would also be levied, making a total of 8.25 new milis levied if the millage is approved. The 1.09 milis were approved last year but not levied. Approval of the millage .would mean that 29.25 milis would be levied for school operations in 1968-69. The June 10 millage has been called a "life or death issue" by the Board ofEducation. School board officials have estimated that passage of the millage would mean a property tax increase of about 31 per cent. The mülage would provide op-j erating expenses for the school] ystem, including the opening of;hree new schools- Huron HighJ tfartin Luther King Jr. Elemen-I ;ary and Scarlett Junior High.l 3ut, according to the superin-l tendent, the millage would pro-l vide for virtually no educatino- al improvements. If the millage is approved, al budget of about $17.4 million would probably be adopted for next year. This is considered far from adequate by Newsted and the AATA to finance the teachers' salary demands - henee the labeling of the millage proposal as "very irresponsible." Newsted said he feels that a 1968-69 school budget of about $19 million would "not be out of line" for next year. A $19 million budget would require a millage request of about 15.5 milis, instead of the 11.66 being proposed. But a higher budget would provide more funds for teachers' salaries and other concerns in the AATA's opinión. These other concerns include class size, teacher workload, among others.