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      Freeland teachers picket against salary and healthcare cuts

      Parents and teachers speak to the school board.

      District leaders are proposing a 3% cut in teachers salary and a cut in benefits to help solve some financial problems.

      Teachers argue that's unfair and unwarranted, saying they're a valuable asset to the district.

      Contract negotiations began in April but teachers have been working under an expired contract since June.

      "It could go on for six months or it could go on for a shorter amount of time" says Sue Rutherford MEA director.

      "It all depends on if the board is willing to negotiate with us".

      District leaders say they care for their teachers, but say they have to be realistic about the district's finances.

      "The staff of the Freeland Community School District really works hard for these children of Freeland" says Superintendent Matt Cairy.

      "I am very happy to say that all of these extra activities aren't having an impact on the students learning in the classroom".

      Teachers picketing outside the meeting tonight were trying to put pressure on the school board to cut negotiations shorter so they do not go any longer than necessary.