By ELISABETH HARRISON
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The School Board in Warwick has reversed course on a pay freeze and benefit cut for teachers. The board voted Wednesday to allow a 2.75 percent raise to take effect.
Rosemary Healey from the Warwick school department says a $6 million surplus from the prior school year made the change possible.
"They would not have made the decision if we were not in balance," Healey says. "However, we are in structural deficit for the 2011-2012 year and will have to make some major changes in order to balance our budget next year."
Warwick school officials say ending the pay freeze will avoid a costly legal challenge from the teachers union. However, they say they hope teachers will accept a 20 percent health care co-pay currently paid by other district employees when contract negotiations begin in the New Year.
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