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      Contract negotiations continue for MAPS teachers

      After working a year without a contract, teachers are still trying to settle on next year's contract. According to Stu Skauge with the Michigan Education Association, the school board's negotiations don't include the appropriate step increase for teacher salary.

      "All they want are the steps that are built into their salary schedule. Like all teachers in Michigan are set up that way where teachers have a salary schedule. They start off on step one and the second year they work for the district they go to step 2," said Stu Skauge, Michigan Education Association.

      A salary schedule breaks down the salary amount for teachers based on years of experience and further education.

      According to the schedule a yearly increase in a teacher's salary is around $2,000 until they have reached 13 years of employment. However, according to Superintendent Bill Saunders they are not denying an increase.

      "We're still in a situation where we're offering raises, but we haven't been offering raises to the point of what those step raises traditionally pay," said Bill Saunders, Superintendent Marquette Area Public Schools.

      Saunders says the district's budget has been decreasing. He says they are spending more money than what they are bringing in from the state.

      "Obviously we still want to compensate our teachers. It's just a question of how much. Can you afford to give five percent raises six percent raises or do we have to start to settle for two or three percent raises," Saunders said.

      While many teachers continue their education by taking extra courses which they pay out of pocket, they're also paying forty percent towards their medical insurance premiums. That comes as a result of the district choosing to impose a Hard Cap on the amount they cover per teacher insurance which is more than $15,000. They are hoping to receive a step increase which can help alleviate those expenses.

      Negotiations will continue until an agreement is reached.