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Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

Marion board OKs contract with teachers

By Margie Wuebker
MARIA STEIN - The Marion Local Schools board of education unanimously ratified a two-year contract with the Marion Local Education Association on Monday night. The agreement comes after just two days of bargaining.
The contract, which runs from July 1 of this year through June 30, 2009, increases teacher salaries 2.75 percent during the 2007-2008 school year and 2.9 percent for 2008-2009.
Superintendent Carl Metzger said the salary increase will boost the starting salary of a teacher with no experience from the current $30,275 to $31,108 the first year and $32,010 the second year.
Education Association members will pick up an additional 2 percent of medical insurance premiums during the next two years.
Rising insurance costs continue to plague school districts as well as business and industry. Treasurer Paul Gagel said earlier in the meeting those costs rose at the rate of 17 percent.
Metzger said the district used compressed bargaining to reach an agreement like his predecessor, Andy Smith, did during previous negotiations.
Each side comes to the bargaining table with five issues rather than bringing multiple concerns as is done in traditional negotiations. There were no mediators or attorneys involved in the process.
In addition to the superintendent and treasurer, other members of the bargaining team included board members Larry Reichert and Ron Winner and teacher representatives Charlie Mescher, Dan Koenig, Angie Leugers, Tim Goodwin and Treva Fortkamp. They met twice in April.
"We had an opportunity to spend more time on fewer issues," Metzger said. "We've got a great group of representatives who cooperate well and see the big picture in terms of school finances and funding."
The current three-year agreement expires June 30.
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