The Brighton Board of Education has reached tentative agreement with the Brighton Education Association, which represents the district’s approximately 300 teachers.

Superintendent Greg Gray announced the TA at Monday night’s regular meeting. The teachers have two years to go on their master contract, but have an annual salary and benefits reopener. Gray tells WHMI that the agreement calls for a 1% salary hike and another 1% for teachers who have completed the required professional development classes. The Board of Education is expected to ratify the tentative agreement at its next meeting on Aug. 28th. Gray says the BEA membership will vote on the contract Aug. 28th and 29th.

Gray says he has to contact the district attorney to make sure it’s OK to approve the agreement before the teachers’ union has ratified it. He says it’s not illegal for a school board to do that; he just wants to make sure it’s advisable procedurally.

Board member John Conely questioned the salary increase, saying the state just gave the district a big per-pupil increase, and argued that the teacher salary increases are eating up the increases in state aid. But Gray says that’s not entirely true, citing the fact that teachers were underpaid for many years, including recently, when they got no salary increase at all during hard times. Gray also says the pay increase for 2017-18 will cost the district $425,000 – less than half the state aid increase.

Conley says the district is doing a good job with the education of students and that while it comes with a cost, they must make sure they have the dollars available for student programs and not just increases in salary. He says the money needs to be spent on students and making sure the budget is safe for the future. Conley reiterates that he’s not “slamming the district”, just trying to get the point across that the board must always be fiscally responsible. (TT/DK)