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Court Orders Boston To Pay $30 Million In Back Salaries

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Boston--The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court last week ordered the city of Boston to pay about $30 million in back salary increases that had been guaranteed to members of the Boston Teachers Union, school administrators, and custodians.

But at the same time, the state's highest court ruled that a job-security clause, which protects tenured teachers from layoffs during the three-year period covered by their contract, is enforceable only for one year.

The teachers' union had sued the city because fiscal restraints prevented union members from receiving a promised 7.5-percent pay raise last September. The teachers also sought to enforce the job-security clause in an effort to protect about 1,000 teachers from being laid off.

Kathleen Kelley, president of the Boston Teachers Union, said that the court's opinion on the job-security clause may be appealed after further study.

Wage Increases Supported

Robert Spillane, superintendent of schools, reportedly was "elated about the whole decision" and said his office had filed a brief with the court supporting the union's plea for wage increases. The city council, under the court order, must appropriate the money for the raises.

As part of that $30-million appropriation, teachers are to receive an additional 8.5-percent increase, as stipulated in their contract for the coming school year. Boston's teachers have not received an across-the-board increase since September 1980.

According to a spokesman for the school department, a teacher earning $22,000 per year will receive about $1,650 in retroactive pay and about $2,250 next fall.

An unresolved question, however, is whether the Boston City Council will honor the school committee's request for $35 million to supplement the school department's budget in order to comply with the order.

--E. Patrick McQuaid

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