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The Logan Board of Education has approved a teacher contract that includes a 4 percent across-the-board pay raise but makes cuts in health benefits.

At a special board meeting Thursday, Superintendent Gary Carlston said the negotiating team reached an agreement last week and the Logan Education Association ratified the contract on Monday.Carlston said the increase would affect all teacher salaries, beginning with raising starting pay to $15,999.

He said the district faces a 35 percent increase in health insurance premiums this year but noted the Utah Legislature has provided funds that will defray about 19 percent of the costs paid by all the state's school districts.

Logan Education Association President Richard Eames said the 4 percent boost is the largest in several years but still doesn't reflect the rise in the cost of living.

He said teachers reduced their share of insurance premiums by taking cuts in coverage.

"We will be paying a higher deductible and higher costs for prescriptions and office visits, but we'll get the same level of coverage for major medical procedures," Eames said.

Eames said he believes both the district and the Legislature did the best they could for teachers this year, given the limited financial resources available.

"The Legislature has provided money for supplies this year, and most people don't realize how much teachers have been paying for supplies out of their own pockets," he said.