Douglas County district, teachers reach agreement |

Douglas County district, teachers reach agreement

After a year of stand still negotiations and heated picketing sessions, the Douglas County School District and the Education Association have reached a tentative contract agreement.

The contract, which covers a two-year span, will not be finalized until members of the Douglas County Professional Education Association, and the Board of Trustees ratify its terms. A ratification convention is scheduled for Sept. 6, at which time teachers may choose to ratify the agreement. If they do, the school board will make its decision at the next scheduled board meeting, Sept. 12.

If the two-year contract is ratified, negotiations will not take place again until 2001.

Teachers are currently working under the same terms of their 1998-99 contract, which expired June 30, 1999.

The teachers’ request for a 4.7 percent salary adjustment was rejected, but the tentative contract does provide for a slight pay increase.

According to a press release provided by District Communications Liaison Maggie Allen, the district agreed to a 1 percent salary increase on the 1998-99 salary schedule by October and a 1 percent bonus on the 2000-2001 schedule for all contracted, certified teachers employed as of Sept. 1, 2000. A 1 percent increase will apply to all stipend salaries as well.

Association President Marty Cronin would not comment on the temporary pact.

“We first want to notify our members of the terms of the agreement,” he said.

Under the agreement, the teachers will also get 15 days sick leave for child or family illness and the district agreed to absorb the increase in employee and dependent group insurance rate increases for the 2000-2001 school year.

The association agreed to provide the district with a six-week window for teacher position transfers, as well as clarification and limitation of maternity leave to six weeks for normal delivery and eight weeks for caesarean section delivery.

The teachers also agreed to present doctor verification for sick days upon a school administrator’s request.

George Echan, the board’s lake representative, said he is pleased an agreement was reached.

“I’m delighted,” he said. “I think the district has always attempted to give raises where money was available.”

Limited funding from the state made salary increases difficult, said Echan.

“I hope that the union joins with the district in an all out effort with the legislature to ensure that we don’t repeat these kinds of things in the future,” he said in reference to the battle over raises. “The legislature last session gave absolutely no dollars to salary increases and I think that’s unfair. I don’t think you can have a legislature expect local schools and teachers to implement state competencies and at the same time, insult those responsible for it by not granting money.”

The rocky history between the district and the teachers led them to the Employee Management Relations Board of Nevada earlier this year.

The union declared an impasse in negotiations, a claim which can be filed once negotiating teams have met in good faith at least four times.

The district then filed an unfair labor practices claim against the teachers, stating that while they met numerous times, only two days were spent on good faith bargaining.

In response, the teachers filed a counter-unfair labor practices claim against the district.

Echan said the long-awaited agreement is the result of both sides approaching negotiations with a different attitude than in times past.

“I think the game’s ended,” Echan said. “I really look forward to working in the future with the union and the teachers.”

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