Teachers, school district tentatively agree on raise
It's not official yet, but Baldwin School District teachers may receive a salary increase for the 2007-2008 contract.
On Tuesday, the two negotiating sides agreed on a contract that would increase the district's salary $270,236. That will be an increase of 6.5 percent from the previous contract.
"I am glad that both sides have reached an agreement," Supt. Paul Dorathy said. "I think it benefits the district, the staff and the students to have this behind us. Now we can move forward."
Now the staff must ratify the contract, then the school board must vote on it. If both sides approve, then the contract will be official.
Head Negotiator Mike Curran is pleased with the contract.
"I am very happy with the amount, considering the financial stress that the district has faced this year and will be facing next year," Curran said. "I am very pleased with what the board was able to provide for the teachers this year."
At Tuesday's meeting, Board Member Ande Parks said the board is willing to fund the salary schedule that the negotiators presented. He was also happy to see an agreement.
"It is certainly good after the two-year period we've had," Parks said. "It's good to have a deal with the teachers that everybody is happy with. I think the board is happy and satisfied to be competitive in what we pay our teachers."
During this past school year, the teachers worked off of the 2005-06 contract. The $300,000 shortfall discovered in August forced the board to freeze the contract for one year.
Throughout the past several months, the two sides have been working to reach an agreement for next year. Parks said the board wanted to finish the negotiations and offer a reasonable salary to its certified staff.
"It was a difficult year and they were patient and worked with us to get through that process," Parks said. "We definitely wanted to be sure they were paid as competitively as possible going into the next contract year."
Curran said the teachers will be happy to begin the school year with a contract, because that hasn't happened for several years.
"I think the staff will be excited to, first off, have a raise and, second off, having a contract for next year," Curran said. "This will be the first time in five or six years that we will actually come to school with a contract."
The two sides might begin negotiating again in November, because of some language issues in the contract. But shouldn't begin discussing money until next May.