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School district and teachers could reach agreement by Christmas

Update: The Woodburn School District and the Woodburn Education Association came to an agreement on a three-year contract with certified licensed staff on December 12. Woodburn teachers approved a three-year contract with the Woodburn School District Tuesday evening, passing it with an 87.5 percent yes vote.

The new contract represents the following changes to salary and benefits over three years. It will begin retroactively from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2016. Major provisions of the new contract include:

  • 1.5 percent salary schedule increase in 2013-14 (retroactive to July 1), followed by a 1 percent increase in 2014-15 and 2 percent in 2015-16 with full step increases for those eligible in each year of the contract.
  • Increase to the medical insurance cap of $25 (effective Jan. 1, 2013) and $50 (effective Oct. 1, 2014).
  • No furlough days for all three years of the contract.
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    Woodburn School District and the Woodburn Education Association have reached a tentative agreement, pending member approval this week.

    The Thursday mediation meeting was the second of its kind after negotiations soured earlier this autumn.

    Last month, the district’s bargaining position was to increase salaries for 2013-14 and 2014-15 by 1 percent and by 1.5 percent for 2015-16. Additionally, there would be pay increases for eligible employees each year of the contract, caps on the amount employees pay for insurance and no furlough days for all three years of the contract, according to Superintendent Chuck Ransom.

    But last month, WEA President Cherene Mills countered that the district’s calculations were flawed because it considers the restoration of furlough days as a pay raise.

    “His comment about restoring the full eight days — we feel that is for the benefit of students,” she said at the time.

    Now, Mills is optimistic that the district and teachers union has reached an agreement.

    “Our team and the district team worked hard to reach an agreement that hopefully will encourage teachers to remain with the district for the benefit of our students,” Mills said Thursday.

    Members were expected to vote on ratification early this week.

    If WEA does vote to ratify, more details regarding the contract will be made available.