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Billings teachers union voting on 2020 contract terms, including a small raise

Posted at 9:17 PM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 23:17:07-04

BILLINGS — The Billings teachers' union was voting Tuesday on the terms of a proposed new contract with Billings School District 2, which would include a raise and $1,500 extra "essential worker" pay.

Billings Education Association President Rachel Schillreff said results will be available to the public on Thursday of the 12,000-member vote. Schillreff confirmed the date with Q2 on the phone Monday.

Negotiators from the union and the district reached a tentative agreement on the contract, according to the email from Schillreff.

According to the union email to members, the bargaining committee asked for a 0.5 percent increase on each cell of the salary schedule in the 2020-21 school year.

The union didn't ask for a higher raise because it knew the school district didn't have much money to dedicate to salaries and benefits, the email states.

In addition, every certified staff member would receive an additional $1,500 for essential worker pay, if the contract is approved by both sides. The total per staff member likely comes out to about $1,000 after taxes.

With the uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the union is only asking for a one-year contract instead of two years, according to the email.

The pandemic served to slow contract negotiations, which started February. Discussions were also halted for the union to support the elementary school mill levy passed by Billings voters in July. The email states discussion picked back up in August, when the union was able to come up with a memorandum of agreement in regards to the pandemic.

If the union internally agreed to the terms, the final contract must still be approved by the school district.

RELATED: Billings School District 2 sees 2020 enrollment dip due to home schooling