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Thursday, October 9th, 2008

Minster school board and teachers agree to contract with pay raise

By Margie Wuebker
MINSTER - Minster Local Schools board of education met briefly Wednesday night with just one item on the agenda - approval of a two-year contract with the Minster Teachers Association.
Teachers, who worked more than 95 days without a contract, will receive a 3 percent salary increase the first year retroactive to the June 30 expiration of the previous pact. There will be a 2.85 percent raise the second year.
This marks the first wage increase since the 2003 contract when teachers received raises ranging from 3 to 3.65 percent over three years. They opted to take no increases, other than step raises, in 2006 and 2007 due to financial constraints.
As for insurance, teachers will continue to pay 5 percent of insurance costs through Dec. 31 of this year with the contribution rate climbing to 6.5 percent next year and 7.5 percent for the period of Jan. 1-June 30, 2010.
Teachers voted Monday night on the proposed contract. Paul Winglewich, co-president of the teachers association, confirmed this morning the vote was not unanimous. Although he declined to give the final vote total, he indicated there were double digit nays and obviously a majority of yeahs.
"The teachers did not say the deal was good and they did not say it was bad," Winglewich stated. "They felt it was acceptable."
School board President Jeff Monnin admitted the negotiating session turned out to be a long process with both sides considering the state of the economy and the school district's financial situation.
"We were able to give raises that fit into our budget," Monnin said. "Everyone is happy to have this behind us and to get back to doing what we do best - educating youth."
Negotiations between representatives of the board and the teachers association began March 3, nearly four months before the June 30 expiration date. Federal mediator Kevin Moyer of Toledo was brought in during an Aug. 14 negotiating session with no agreement reached.
More than 120 people attended a Sept. 22 meeting to voice support for local teachers and to listen as the board unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding extending the contract to Oct. 31.
A tentative agreement was reached Oct. 2 during a marathon session that commenced at 4:30 and ended shortly before 10:30 p.m. In addition to Moyar, others assisting with negotiations were Shelley Jackson, a representative of the Ohio Education Association, and Julie Martin, the board's attorney with the Columbus law firm of Scott, Scriven & Wahoff LLP.
Members of the school negotiating team included Sherman, fellow board member Mike Hoelscher and Superintendent Gayl Ray. Treasurer Laura Klosterman sat in on some of the sessions. Representing the certified staff with Winglewich were Pat Baumer and Larry Topp.
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