Board, teachers open talks

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Negotiations between the teachers and the board of education resumed on May 7, and continued on the 13th and 18th.

Stan Curtis, director of schools and newly appointed member of the negotiating team, was absent from the first meeting, due to a previous engagement, but budget director Janet Wiles and human resources director Mitchell Byrd were there to meet with representatives of the Marshall County Education Association.

The MCEA presented their proposals for items to be negotiated for the 2009-2010 school year. These include differentiated pay, insurance, and coaching supplements.

"Craig Michael did an outstanding job of bringing everybody together," said Byrd. "We will find a way to work in a positive direction for the children of Marshall County."

"That's a big deal," said Wiles of the coaching supplements. In a phone interview, she said that Curtis had agreed to form a committee to study the supplements. They are expected to stay the same for the 2009-2010 school year, but, after the committee does its research, they may change for the year after that.

Differentiated pay was also a topic of discussion. It has been agreed to pay teachers a one-time bonus for attaining national certification, and to reimburse them for money spent on tuition to obtain some endorsements. These measures have not been implemented yet because the Board of Education is still seeking funding for them.

At the negotiation session on the 18th, the group signed off on the agreement that pay day would be at the end of the month, reported Wiles.

Talk about health insurance payments continued, with MCEA repeating its request for the Board of Education to agree to pay a percentage of the premium, instead of a dollar amount.

Though it is not part of the negotiated contract, there was some conversation about setting up a teachers' advisory council.

The Board of Education and the MCEA are due to meet again at 9 a.m. Friday, June 12.

"We really need to have it (the contract) done by budget time on July 1," said Wiles.