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FACT FINDER URGES 3.95% PAY HIKE

A three-year contract with annual pay raises of 3.95 percent, including increments, has been recommended by a state Public Employment Relations Board fact finder as a way to end a year-long impasse between teachers and the Southwestern Central School District in Jamestown and Lakewood.

The contract would be retroactive to July 1, 1996. Teachers have been working under their old expired contract since then.

The Southwestern Teachers Association, which represents 135 instructors, sought a pay hike of 4.47 percent, including increments, while the district was offering 3 percent, including increments.

Fact finder Samuel Cugalj of Orchard Park recommended the 3.95 percent increase be applied to graduate-hour payments and to pay for teachers who take on extracurricular and coaching activities.

The fact finder denied most requests for changes in health insurance issues. He turned down a teacher request for a new dental plan and a district proposal to increase co-payments.

Cugalj also recommended an increase in district contributions to the optical coverage plan, an increase in the major medical deductable figure, an increase in pay for evening school instructors and an increase in personal leave days from three to four, while leaving the total number of leave days at 14.

He denied a teacher request to use accumulated unused sick days as a basis for increasing the district's contribution to retiree health insurance.

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