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The Daily



10-09-03: Lack of pact ‘frustrates’ teachers


The Minster Teachers Association is getting frustrated after working three months without a new contract.
Co-President Tad Colbeck this morning said the association has set up a bank fund for any future expenses.
“It would be inaccurate to call it a strike fund. It is for getting positive information out to the community,” Colbeck said, adding that money may be used to purchase buttons and advertisements in support of the teachers.
Colbeck said the teachers still are willing to work out an agreement with school board members, but noted that today marks 100 days the teachers have worked without a new contract.
“The MTA has always done what was in the best interest for the students and the community,” Colbeck said. “We do not want to strike. After 100 days, we are still very united but there is a tremendous amount of frustration. We feel they (board of education members) have a low opinion for the services we are providing.”
School board members meet with the association at 7:30 p.m. tonight to discuss negotiations. Colbeck said a meeting with a federal mediator to help with the negotiations already has been scheduled for Oct. 28.
The teachers are working under the old contract, which expired July 1. Contract negotiations began in early June. Talks were scheduled to begin in March, but were postponed so the board could concentrate on the 6.5-mill operating levy that was approved by voters in May.
“Historically, the association has always had a great working relationship with past boards,” said Colbeck, a high school teacher.
However, Colbeck said teachers now feel the good negotiating atmosphere has dwindled.
Colbeck said the board of education approached the association in 2000 asking them to take a lower raise due to the legal battle over the land for the new middle school.
“They wanted us to take less in our negotiations because of these issues. We agreed out of respect for the board because we wanted to continue to have the best school in our area,” Colbeck said.
The teachers now feel there is a lack of respect being returned, he added.
“Once negotiations started we felt that the current board does not seem to value our contributions,” Colbeck said. “Our students scored a perfect 22 of 22 on the state report card and 90 percent of our students went on to college. Our students had an average ACT score of 25, four points above the national average, and secured $830,000 in college scholarships last year. That level of success does not happen by accident. But the teachers are feeling that they (the school board) think this happens in spite of us.”
Superintendent Hal Belcher was unavailable for comment this morning.


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