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Teachers and district reach contract agreement

An agreement between the Woodburn School District and the Woodburn Education Association on a three-year contract was approved by the WEA membership and ratified by the school board last week.

Woodburn teachers approved a three-year contract with the Woodburn School District Dec. 17, passing it with an 87.5 percent yes vote, and the contract was ratified by the school board Thursday night.

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:

n 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.

n Increase to the medical insurance cap of $25 (effective Jan. 1, 2013) and $50 (effective Oct. 1, 2014).

n No furlough days for all three years of the contract.

“We worked together to come to an agreement that would offer a competitive salary and benefits package to retain teachers in the district,” said Cherene Mills, president of WEA, in a press release. “This agreement represents common ground that is sustainable to all parties.”

Negotiations began in the spring, when the district promised an improvement from the 2012-13 budget. That saw a reduction of eight administrator positions and four certified positions in addition to eight furlough days. But the restoration of furlough days and a step increase was insufficient for the WEA, which argued that Woodburn would have to become more competitive in its salary offerings, since it would have to hire teachers to replace 39 that had resigned in 18 months. Negotiations extended through the summer and fall, and eventually led to mediation last month. The Dec. 12 meeting, when the district and WEA reached a tentative agreement, was the second time the groups came together for mediation.

“The district recognizes the significant contributions of our staff as we recover from a bad economy – we’ve all been spread thin,” said Superintendent Chuck Ransom in the press release. “We are pleased that we have a contract that values and rewards our teachers and balances investment in curriculum, technology and class size reduction to benefit students.”

The WEA’s certified licensed staff is comprised of 328 teachers, counselors and school psychologists.

At the school board meeting Thursday night, Mills publicly thanked those involved.

“I want to thank the board and Superintendent Ransom and the bargaining teams for sticking with us through this process so that we can be a benefit to all students,” she said.




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