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Central board ratifies 3-year contract with teachers

September 01, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

The Central Union High School District Board of Trustees ratified a contract with its teachers Thursday, the result of what were described as "peaceful" negotiations.

"The good news is that we've signed a three-year contract and that's positive," said Suzanne McAlpine, president of the El Centro Secondary Teachers' Association.

Association members voted to ratify the contract on Aug. 22 with a 92-percent approval, McAlpine said.

"Negotiations went quickly and smoothly," McAlpine said.

District Superintendent Richard Fragale agreed.

"This was probably the easiest one (contract negotiation process) I've ever had," said Fragale, a veteran administrator.

"It was almost like a conversation rather than negotiations," he added.

"We were most appreciative of the professional and trusting way the association's negotiators handled themselves," Fragale said.

McAlpine attributes much of the ease of negotiations to Fragale and the other negotiators.

"Mr. Fragale works with the association rather than treating us as adversaries. He has brought the district together as a team," McAlpine said.

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The contract covers the 2001-02, 2002-03 and 2003-04 school years.

"We all think it was a pretty fair contract," Fragale said.

Under the new contract, this year's salary increase is 6 percent plus an additional half percent for one work day added to the schedule.

In 2002, the salary will increase 1 1/2 percent plus whatever money the state provides for a cost-of-living adjustment. The same increase will again take place in 2003.

Supplemental salaries, what is paid to teachers who do duties beyond the classroom, increased 5 percent this year and will increase another 5 percent next year.

The hourly rate went from $21 to $23 this year and will increase to $25 next year and $29 in 2003.

"I think the salary increase makes our district competitive with others in the Valley," McAlpine said, adding that such increases help draw qualified teachers to the district.

The contract also allows for the association's president to have a prep period to conduct association business.

Contract language changes allow limited class-size overloads for which teachers are compensated. McAlpine said that while the state Department of Education aims to reduce overloads, "we hope overloaded classes will be held to the absolute minimum."

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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