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Cranston schools panel OKs 2% pay hikes for bus drivers, mechanics

CRANSTON, R.I. — The School Committee Monday night unanimously approved separate three-year contract proposals for its bus drivers and mechanics, agreements that call for 2 percent raises in 2017-18 and leave pay rates for the two following years to future negotiations.

Both agreements now go to the City Council for its review and final approval.

A fiscal analysis of the agreements by the school department estimated that over the next three years, the bus driver agreement, which will cover the district’s approximately 80 drivers, would cost the city just less than $288,000, in total. The estimate for the tradespeople agreement was that it would add about $196,000 over the three fiscal years. In both cases the biggest annual component of the increased annual cost was the 2-percent salary increases, with the drivers’ raise estimated to cost the district $37,794 and the tradespeople’s raise adding $13,604.

Besides the 2-percent pay increase in 2017-18, the proposed bus drivers contract, if approved by the City Council, would grant a fourth week of vacation for drivers with 20 years or more service and increases the value of school department-paid life insurance from $20,000 to $50,000. It also would set two mandatory training days and pension contributions of 10.12 percent per year in each of the three years.

Along with trades contract’s 2 percent pay increase in 2017-18 and life insurance increase to $50,000, if approved, that agreement would include a 10-cents-per-hour pay increase for mechanics who achieve certain certifications. It also calls for tradespeople to get a repair reimbursement of up to $1,500 a year for work use of their personal vehicles. Currently the district has eight tradespeople and three mechanics, one short of its usual complement of four.

If approved by the City Council, both agreements would take effect on July 1, 2017 and run through June 30, 2020.

The agreements, both reached by the committee in talks with Local 1322 of the Rhode Island Laborers District Council, follow the pay-rate pattern set earlier this year when the committee negotiated a one-year contract extension with the Cranston Teachers Alliance. That agreement included a 2-percent raise, as well. The teachers’ contract was set to expire Aug. 31 of this year, but was extended to that same date in 2018.

That agreement, with its 2-percent pay increase for the teachers, was approved unanimously by the City Council in February.

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