Northeastern teachers will receive raises of between 2 percent and 3 percent per year under a new three-year agreement approved by the school board last week.
But changes in the new contract include a redesigned health care benefit plan that requires a greater contribution from teachers, said Brian Geller, the district's director of operations. Among the changes are higher co-pays and increased deductibles.
In total, the new agreement will save the district a projected $900,000 in health care costs, Geller said.
Tuition reimbursement also has been restructured to save the district money, Superintendent Jody Nace said.
In Pennsylvania, certified teachers are required to complete six college credits every five years to keep their certifications active. In the new agreement, the district will reimburse teachers for nine credits; it previously reimbursed teachers for 12.
The district and teachers' union had been negotiating the new deal since Dec. 22. The contract replaces one that expired June 30.
And it follows a 2011-12 school year in which teachers agreed to a partial wage freeze. They received the pay raise negotiated during the previous contract but agreed to forgo additional pay increases based on experience.
Under the new agreement, teacher wage increases total 2.6 percent this year, 2.79 percent next year and 2.99 percent in 2014-15, the final year of the contract.
This year's pay increases will not be retroactive to the start of the school year.
Spokeswoman Lauri Lebo with the Pennsylvania State Education Association stressed that the relationship between the district and its teachers remains positive.
She said the new contract "went over very well," and teachers believe it accurately represents the state of the economy.