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E.C. teachers vote to ratify agreement over contract

June 12, 2001|By LAURA MACKENZIE, Staff Writer

The El Centro Elementary Teachers Association voted Monday to ratify the contract agreement reached by negotiators Wednesday.

Said Bruce Roberts, ECETA president: "100 percent voted in favor of the contract. There were no dissenting votes."

The school trustees are expected to ratify the agreement at a special board meeting Friday.

"We're all relieved that we can face the next school year without any impending doom, so to speak," said Ron Hull, school board president.

Hull said he expects the trustees will approve the agreement.

"I'm told the terms are within the guidelines put forth by the board," he said.

Hull added there are certain procedures that must be followed before the board can take a vote on the agreement.

"Otherwise we would have done it at the meeting tonight," he explained.

Superintendent Michael Klentschy said the contract is for the 1999-2000, 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 school years.

For the 1999-2000 school year, teachers will receive a 4 percent increase, retroactive to January 2000.

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For the 2000-2001 school year teachers will receive a 7.75 percent increase, effective at such a date that the "net cost for the 2000-2001 school year is 7 percent," said Klentschy.

"They are going to get a retroactive check for this year that will be 7 percent. But in terms of what their salary base looks like next year it is 7.75 percent," explained Klentschy.

An additional 1.75 percent will be added to compensate for three additional days added to the work year for 2001-2002.

Another change for the 2001-2002 school year is the salary and health benefits combination.

The district's benefit contribution will be increased by 6 percent, with a portion going to salary.

Klentschy said he estimates about 2 percent will go to health and 4 percent to a salary increase.

"For the 2000-2001 school year, the premiums will be fully paid by the district, which is equivalent to 2.25 percent in salary," said Klentschy.

He added the hourly rate will be adjusted to $29.62 and will be adjusted upward next year based on the salary increase.

Other issues the tentative agreement covers is contract language, working hours, peer assistance and review, changes in the grievance procedure and the teachers' association's rights.

A tentative school calendar was agreed on for next year as well.

"We believe it represents compromise by both the district and the association," said Klentschy.

"It represents fairness in terms of contract language and in terms of salary and other benefits. Our teachers will remain among the highest paid in the state," he added.

He cautioned, "we have to remember the district will have to make cuts in order to achieve the salary and benefits portion of this contract."

While he assured there will be no lay-offs, he warned the district will continue to "make adjustments to our budget to align to what the cost will be."

"When we get a final budget from the state in September, it will give us a better opportunity to make the adjustments," said Klentschy.

Staff Writer Laura MacKenzie can be reached at 337-3442.

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