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New deal in place for school district bus drivers

Bus drivers, chaperones and crossing guards in Independent School District 196 will have to wait until July before they see an increase in their salary, but they'll get bigger contributions to health insurance payments right away.

The District 196 School Board approved the new contract at its meeting Monday night. Under the new deal, which runs from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2013, bus drivers, chaperones and crossing guards will see no salary increase in the 2011-12 contract year but will receive a 20-cent per hour increase starting July 1 of 2012.

The district's contributions to insurance payments will increase by $21 per month for an individual in the first year of the deal, and by another $49 per month in the second year. For an individual with one dependent, the district's contribution will increase by $47 per month in the first year another $109 in the second year. Contributions for a family will increase by $52 and $145 in the two years of the deal.

Employee contributions to health insurance will not increase.

The district will also increase its contribution to the employees' matching plan by $25.

The new contract covers most of the approximately 250 employees in the district's transportation department. At 200 buses, the district's transportation fleet is the largest district-owned-and-operated fleet in Minnesota.

The bus drivers, chaperones and crossing guards approved the deal Jan. 6.