With the recession lingering on, and unemployment continuing at a high rate, people with jobs these days are for the most part just happy to have them.

With these conditions as the backdrop, Sherwood School District and Sherwood Education Association officials have negotiated a new contract for certified staff, effectively the district's teachers.

'Negotiations were completed in June, and the agreement was ratified by the teachers in early June and approved by the (School) Board at the June board meeting,' said Wayne Lowry, district chief financial officer.

The three-year contract includes a zero cost-of-living-adjustment for the first two years - 2011-12 and 2012-13 - and a range for cost of living for the third year (2013-14) of .5 percent to 1.5 percent based on the Portland area Consumer Price Index - Urban Wage Earner version.

Tuition reimbursement for the first two years will be a maximum of $60,000 and in the third year will increase to $90,000. Certified staff will continue to get their step increases if they are eligible.

For the first two years, teachers will get paid for 187 days in the contract rather than the normal 190 days, which reflects a loss of three paid days that will not be student instructional days.

'Actual days are yet to be determined,' Lowry said. 'Contract paid days will be restored to 190 days in year three.

'The health insurance cap will increase by no more than 6 percent for each of the three years of the contract. If health premiums increase more than that, employees will pay the difference out of pocket.'

This contract is only for the certified group, because classified staff members have a separate contract that was settled last year. 

'There are many differences between the contracts because they are two very different groups of employees,' Lowry said. 'However, on the financial side, both contracts now treat the health insurance cap the same. Both contracts include step increases each year.

'The classified contract includes a COLA (cost of living adjustment) each year based on the same CPI-U Portland/Salem factor, but it has no range, so their COLA for 2011-12 and 2012-13 will be whatever the CPI is for those years. The classified contract at this point does not call for any reduction in days like the teachers' contract does.'

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