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Teachers approve contract; school board sets vote May 3

Gresham-Barlow School District teachers overwhelmingly voted for a new contract Monday, April 30, which would end a long dispute if approved by the district's board later this week.

More than 98 percent of the Gresham-Barlow Education Association's members voted to ratify the contract, union officials said Tuesday, May 1.

The district's board is set to vote on the deal at its 7 p.m. meeting Thursday, May 3, in Gresham City Council chambers, 1331 N.W. Eastman Parkway.

Meanwhile, the East County Bargaining Council met Tuesday to look at the Gresham-Barlow deal. The ECBC is the official bargaining representative for the Parkrose, Centennial, Gresham-Barlow, Corbett, Oregon Trail and David Douglas school districts. Contracts for each local must be ratified by the ECBC, according to Tom Urbanowicz, bargaining team chairman for the GBEA.

According to information on the GBEA website, the proposed contract contains no cost-of-living adjustments in teachers' pay for 2011-13. However, if the state funds schools to the tune of at least $6.4 billion in 2013-15, the district will give teachers a COLA of 2 percent.

The district also included step pay increases for 2011-12, but delays them until June 30 of 2013 and 2014, according to the union. The contract also includes small increases in the contributions to teachers' health insurance to bring it in line with the contributions it makes to classified and administrative staff, Urbanowicz said.

District officials have declined to comment on the deal until board members get a summary of it before their next meeting, according to Athena Vadnais, district spokeswoman.

The union and the district reached a tentative contract agreement just hours after unionized teachers went on strike April 25 in response to the board's decision earlier in the month to impose a contract. It took a year of negotiations to yield a new contract, the last one having expired June 30, 2011.




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