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      Marquette teachers school the board in contract needs

      A huge showing by Marquette Public School teachers and their families Monday, telling the school board what they want to see in their new contract. The school board has been negotiating with the teachers union since August 13. The two biggest issues in the contract: pay and health insurance. Teachers say they've gone too long with no pay raises, and they don't want a cap on their insurance. Monday night, a number of teachers said they're not sure if they can afford to keep teaching.

      "We share a lot of goals with the board, student achievement for success, for a strong, healthy, vibrant and financially sound district, but we believe that the offer that was provided, that they can do better," said Fred Cole, Chief Negotiator for the Teachers Union. "Teachers have gone backwards, they've taken zero percent raises for the past three contracts despite the increased cost of living; it's making it very difficult for a lot of teachers, as you heard tonight."

      The School Board did ratify the contracts for one of the Educational Service Personnel groups Monday. Both the school board and Interim Superintendent, Bill Saunders, declined to comment on the teacher contract negotiations.