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Saugus District in Standoff With Teachers Over Raises

Teachers and administrators negotiating a new contract in the Saugus Union Elementary School District resolved some of their differences Friday but remained at an impasse over the teachers’ request for a 12% raise this year.

Supt. Chris Wilson said the two sides agreed on an improved fringe benefits package, but still will seek the help of an outside mediator to resolve the salary dispute. The two sides were at an impasse Thursday night after four days of fruitless negotiating sessions.

The Saugus Teachers Assn. hopes that funds from Proposition 98, a state school funding initiative passed last year, can be used to raise the salaries of the district’s 218 teachers by 12% this year.

The proposed increase would be in addition to a 6% raise that the teachers will get this year under the present contract, Wilson said. The teachers want a 12% raise next year as well, he said.

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District administrators said they cannot approve the proposed raises because they are not sure how much money they will receive from the state under Proposition 98. The teachers association says the district is underestimating the funds available.

Although the teachers and administrators remain divided, the district’s 100 non-teaching employees approved a separate three-year contract Thursday that will raise their salaries by 6% each year, Wilson said.

Earlier this week, teachers held a candlelight vigil outside district offices to press their demands for a raise.

The district has 5,200 students.

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