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Published: Saturday, 5/17/2008

Teachers approve fact-finder report, strike authorization

BLADE STAFF

Toledo Public Schools teachers accepted a fact-finder report Saturday that would settle the issue of retroactive pay owed to them since 2002 and give modest raises over the next two years.

They also authorized their union president to call for a strike if the Toledo Board of Education rejects the report.

The Toledo Federation of Teachers held the meeting at the Stranahan Theater for teachers, in which nearly all the about 2,200 in the union attended, to take action on the fact finder's recommendations for the new contract with the district.

Additional meetings are scheduled Saturday for the paraprofessionals and substitutes in the union.

In a voice vote, the teachers overwhelmingly accepted the report with just a sprinkling of no votes, union President Fran Lawrence said.

The school board's next regularly scheduled meeting is May 27 and no special meeting has been scheduled to take action on the report.

Among the changes recommended by the fact finder is a lump sum payment by the end of August of a portion of the owed 1.48 percent retroactive payment and the rest paid over the course of three years.

Teachers also would get modest raises in the two-year contract, if it's approved by the board.

The fact-finder met with the district and union on May 5 and submitted his report on Wednesday.

Economic concerns and the length of the contract the union wanted a three-year agreement were among the reasons a fact finder was used.

The union and district administration have been negotiating a new contract since March 17.

The existing contract, agreed to in 2004, expired March 31 after three extensions.



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