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Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Teachers and BOE come to an agreement

By William Kincaid
A standoff between teachers and board of education members at Celina City Schools over a new salary ended Thursday afternoon, as board of education members approved an agreement with the Celina Education Association (CEA).
The unanimous approval was given during a special board meeting. CEA members had ratified the same agreement on Sept. 21.
Teachers will receive lower salary increases than those their union leaders initially sought.
The agreement - effective Sept. 1, 2009 to Aug. 31, 2011 - stipulates a 1.65 percent increase the first year, and a 1.5 percent increase the second year, increasing the base salary to $32,055 the first year, and $32,536 the next year.
According to documents released with an unfair labor practice charge filed by the board of education's legal counsel against the CEA, the CEA wanted a salary increased of 7.8 to 10 percent for the first year of a new teacher contract.
In the final contract agreement, teachers will pay $40 in monthly premium health insurance contributions for a single plan, up from $30, and $98 for a family plan, up from $60, the first year. The second year, monthly contributions for the single plan will increase to $45 and the family plan to $115.
A provision in the last contract saying state mandated test results would not be part of the teacher evaluation process also was removed from the new contract.
The professional staff observation form now includes a section ranking teachers on how prepared their students are for state mandated testing.
Other requests by the CEA were not included in the final agreement.
It had wanted to hold teachers harmless when preparing reports required by the Federal and State Departments of Education; and a policy that would give special education teachers one day of compensation for each Individualized Education Plan written, recorded and maintained.
On Aug. 18, federal mediator Steve Anderson was brought to Celina High School to revive stalled negotiations, which began on July 29.
That same day, a tentative agreement for a two-year contract was reached between both sides.
It included a two-percent raise the first year and a one percent increase the second year.
No details as to why it was rejected were ever revealed in public meetings or elsewhere.
Celina's teachers had been working on the last year of a three-year contract that expired Aug. 31.
Under the last contract, which became effective Sept. 1, 2006, teachers receivied a 2.75 percent raise the first year, 2.5 percent increase the second year and 2.25 percent increase the third year, School Superintendent Matt Miller said.
A second tentative agreement was reached on Anderson's second visit after a marathon negotiation session lasting nearly six-and-a-half hours.
In other business on Thursday afternoon, board members unanimously approved a contract for Sheila Gudorf as the Celina High School autumn theatre director and a contract for Keith Gudorf as the assistant theatre director.
Though the high school puts on an annual musical, it had been without a drama theater program for several years, according to Superintendent Matt Miller.
Miller said the new program will give students the opportunity to engage in drama. He is hoping for a fall performance this school year some time between the end of football season and beginning of basketball.
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