On a vote of 5-1, the Brighton Board of Education approved a salary reopener with the union representing district teachers at its meeting Monday night.

Superintendent Greg Gray says the BEA membership will review the contract and conduct its own ratification vote later in the week. Gray says the collegiality between the two sides was evident throughout the negotiation process.

The salary increase breaks down into 0.5% plus 1.5% for completing 30 hours of professional development classes. The lone dissenting vote came from Trustee John Conely, who said he feels the money should go instead to hire more teachers, in order to lower class size. He also said Brighton teachers are already the highest compensated teachers in Livingston County.

Conely said the district has received approximately $2 million in additional funding from the state, and it would impact the students more if the money were spent in the classroom. Figures obtained from the Senate Fiscal Agency actually show that the district is getting a $1.4 million increase in its state foundation grant funding for the 2018-19 fiscal year, based on a per-pupil allowance of $7,871, a $240 increase over the previous year. There is also another approximately $500,000 coming from the Shared Services program for a $1.9 million total.

The $240 is for schools that received the minimum allowance last year, whereas the higher-funded districts will receive a $120 per-pupil hike. It comprises the largest increase in state school spending since 2006. However, the caveat is that the state cut $470 per pupil in 2012 at the height of the Great Recession, so school districts have only recently returned to where they were a dozen years ago. (TT)