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Published: Tuesday, 6/5/2001

Sylvania teacher contract OK'd

Teachers in the Sylvania school district will receive 3.5 percent yearly raises in a two-year contract approved last night by the board of education.

The pact was ratified earlier in the day by the Sylvania Education Association, said Perry Lefevre, president of the association.

The accord, reached after three days of “interest-based bargaining,” runs from Sept. 1, 2001, to Aug. 31, 2003.

Board members praised its five-member negotiating committee and the association's committee for reaching an agreement that is fair and equitable to the district taxpayers.

Prior to face-to-face meetings, the school board's committee and the five people representing the union underwent two days of training with a federal mediator to learn the interest-based bargaining method, which takes a problem-solving approach to contract issues.

“The interest-based bargaining process really worked for us as professionals. The Sylvania Education Association is looking forward to continuing this method in the future,” Mr. Lefevre said.

Board member Mary Himmelein said the negotiating process was a drastic change from the three previous bargaining sessions in which a fact-finder was used to reach a settlement.

“It was certainly a very different step for the board,” said Mary Himmelein, a board member.

The 3.5 percent raise in the base pay will put the starting pay for a teacher with a bachelor's degree and no experience at $29,080. The top of the faculty scale will be $63,900 for a teacher with 27 years' experience and a doctoral degree.

The contract includes increased costs for the 90-day mail-order prescription drug plan. The cost for the generic drug program will increase from $5 to $10. The brand-name drug plan will increase from $15 to $30.

Teachers, psychologists, counselors, and full-time tutors who belong to the 540-member Sylvania Education Association ratified the agreement before the board meeting.

Mr. Lefevre would not provide the number of members who voted on the contract. He said that 97 percent of the members who voted approved the pact. “We had a good turnout. We did not have all the members there,” he said.

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