Teacher and school district negotiators reach accord
Months of tension between the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District and the teachers union subsided when the two groups came to a tentative contract agreement Friday.The agreement left everyone at the table pleased, according to teachers union negotiators.”[The district negotiators’] approach to mediation was cooperative, and I am grateful for their willingness to work collaboratively with teachers to resolve impasse and move forward with the start of the school year,” said Scott Beaudry, Tahoe Truckee Education Association lead negotiator, in a prepared statementThe tentative agreement, which will not be finalized until it is ratified by the Tahoe Truckee Education Association and approved by the school board, gives teachers a 1 percent increase on the salary schedule, retroactive to December 2004.For the 2005-06 school year, teachers will receive a 4 percent increase effective this month, and an additional increase of 2 percent beginning April of 2006. Because those percentages are broken up over a number of months, the district will pay out approximately 5 percent total until the 2006-07 school year begins.The unknowns created by the school district’s basic aid status – which means the district receives funding from local property taxes rather than the state – are what made teacher negotiations difficult, said Jo Wilson, assistant superintendent of personnel. Property tax information is usually not calculated by the state until late summer, she said.At the end of last school year, the teachers union asked for a 6 percent increase on their salary schedule for last school year and this year. The school district responded with a 1 percent offer retroactive for 2004-05, and no offer for the 2005-06 school year. The teachers union rejected the offer.After the teachers union and district negotiators reached impasse in June, both groups agreed to bring a state-appointed mediator to the table. Their first meeting with the mediator was Friday.Also part of Friday’s negotiations was a tentative agreement to end further negotiations until April 2006, when the 2006-07 salary schedule will be up for discussion.Until then, the district may not have its hands full with teacher contracts, but it will still be dealing with salary negotiations for classified employees, such as transportation personnel, who are also asking for a cost of living allowance increase.
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