By ELISABETH HARRISON
PROVIDENCE, RI – Members of the Providence City Council are calling for substantive changes to teacher contracts when they come up for renegotiation this year. A report from the Council's Education Subcommittee says the district could save $4.5 million just by changing pay rates for substitutes.
Subcommittee Chair Sam Zurier says right now some substitutes are getting the same benefits as full-time teachers.
"One can say that the Providence system is more fair to teachers," says Zurier. "But when we are in this difficult financial situation, we can no longer afford to pay our substitute teachers on a different scale from every other substitute teacher in the state."
Zurier is also recommending that teachers agree to work longer hours, possibly in exchange for higher salaries.
The school board and the teachers union negotiate the terms of the teacher contract. It must then be approved by the city council.
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