Sweeping school changes made after months of negotiations

After seven months of intense negotiations, the Memphis City School Board made sweeping changes Tuesday night!
The biggest change: a living wage with a two-percent pay increase for union workers.
Commissioner Sara Lewis says it's long overdue.

MCS Board Commissioner Sara Lewis says, "I know many of the employees in the district who work and struggle because they cannot take care of their families on what we pay them."

And union workers will now have committees to oversee labor issues.

Dr. Carol Johnson, Memphis City School superintendent says, "So that we don't just stop every three years to negotiate, but all along the way we're having dialogue and conversations about how we can transform what we do."

One issue that raised some eyebrows: teachers must now follow a professional dress code!

Dr. Johnson continues, "Those of us who deal with children should be careful of the message and the messages we send in everything we do and everything we say and everything we wear."

Discipline for assault on school employees...also a hot button issue.
After this meeting, they're protected by law!

Yvonee B. Acey with the Memphis Education Association says, "Have a right to file charges if they're assaulted or attacked and harassed, intimidated.  That there are levels of their contractual agreement that we can use."

School board members say they called this special meeting to implement the changes this school year.
The contract agreements expire in 2009.