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      Macomb teacher contracts: two sides of the same coin

      No resolution yet on Macomb school district contract negotiations.

      The Macomb School District and the teachers union have attempted to reach a contract agreement since September.

      After declaring an impasse in November, both sides have submitted their best and final offers.

      Contract negotiations between the Macomb teachers and the School district are at a standstill for now. Both sides still far apart on some key issues.

      Superintendent Dr., Patrick Twomey say that the district's final offer does away with the step increase for the 2013-2014 school year which amounts to an average 2.8 percent pay increase.

      "Whether you call it step, whether you call it longevity, whether you call it an entitlement, in the end it increases the paycheck by an average of 2.8 percent and I think it's fair to tell the public that that's a raise." Dr. Twomey said.

      The district proposal also includes a one time salary increase of one and a half percent.

      Julia Burns, the co-president of the Macomb Education Association, says that the teachers only want what is rightfully theirs.

      "We feel that we have put in a proposal that isn't going to break the district," Burns said. "It's not really going to cause them to overspend and we just want the district to recognize all the service that the teachers here have put in over the years."

      The district also proposed a cost sharing plan for the teacher retirement program called the TRS that cuts back the district's 9.4 percent contribution to 7.5 percent.

      "That 1.9 percent will save the district money, however on average it will cost each teacher about $899," Burns said. "The 1.5 percent increase that they have proposed on top of that however doesn't equal out and so then teachers will end up taking home less money."

      "They did negotiate the 9.4 percent increase in their over 4 year period of time," Twomey said. "However Steve, when contracts are opened those things become negotiable again everything in a contract is negotiable and that includes TRS."

      More negotiations are expected in the near future.

      Dr. Twomey says that last year the district deficit spent a little more than $500,000 out of the education fund.

      It is expected to increase that to 1 million dollars this year.

      Both sides say they are hopeful that a compromise can still be reached.