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School board, teachers sign three-year contract

June 22, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

WASHINGTON COUNTY

karenh@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Teachers Association and Board of Education have signed a three-year deal worth an increase of almost $6.4 million.

WCTA President Claude Sasse and interim director of human resources Linda Barkdoll were on hand Tuesday night to sign the agreement before the board.

The contract calls for step increases and 3 percent raises next year for teachers with fewer than 20 years of service and $4,000 raises for teachers with more than 20 years of service.

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It also contains a career ladder that rewards teachers for leadership activities outside the classroom. The ladder is based on a model the association initially rejected.

Sasse called the contract's length historic and said he could not remember any contract covering so many years.

"So it will be interesting what will happen with a three-year contract. It puts us out of touch somewhat with what will happen in that period of time, but time will tell," Sasse said.

Board member Edward Forrest said while he commended the work of both parties in reaching an agreement, he is "very disappointed in the process."

The board voted unanimously to accept the deal.

Forrest said in a statement to the board he believed the process, which began last November, was too time consuming and costly, and he suggested the parties explore ways to streamline negotiations.

Talks seemed close to collapse in May, when Sasse said he worried negotiations were dead.

The association protested the board's proposals for a career ladder, which would have provided teachers the opportunity to climb the pay scale by taking on extra leadership jobs.

The new contract would allow teachers to collect extra-duty pay for certain jobs. Other roles would give teachers points toward one-time bonuses.

The program, which will be reviewed by a committee of teachers and administrators, so far includes compensation for such duties as teaching Advanced Placement classes, mentoring new teachers and teaching classes subject to state assessments.

Forrest said Tuesday he was disappointed the association had decided to make its complaints public during negotiations.

At the end of the meeting, board member Wayne Ridenour called Forrest's comments "counterproductive," as the parties move forward with a new contract.

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