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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Teachers working without contract, watching board vote on other raises

Monday, December 5, 2005

- The Clay Community Schools Board will meet Thursday at 7:30 p.m., in the North Clay Middle School Media Center.

Clay Community School Corp. teachers have been working without a contract since the 2003/04 school year and the possibility of the reaching an agreement for the new year is slipping away. Teachers are wondering about the school board's vote on pay increases for administrative staff, classified staff and bus drivers at Thursday's meeting.

Pointing out their efforts to settle the contract dispute, the teachers feel they have shown good faith during the negotiation process.

"We're disturbed at the board's lack of urgency on the matter," Clay Community Schools Classroom Teacher Association President Russ True told The Brazil Times. "We know there isn't a whole lot of dollars in the budget. We know there is a problem, but we feel that we've really stepped up to the plate when it comes to bargaining the contract."

When the board informed the union that something had to be done about rising insurance costs, they sought a solution.

"It's a half a million-dollar answer that we handed to the board," True said. "The reality is that if we'd stayed with Anthem there would have been an 28 percent increase instead of a 14 percent increase."

When the board informed the union that the school corporation needed to create a seven-period day, the teachers designed a plan allowing students seven class periods in a day. Teachers would continue teaching five classes, have a prep period and created a "working pool" during the seventh period to cover duties by instructional assistants.

"We feel that this plan will save the board an additional $100,000," True said.

When the board was faced with potential bankruptcy because of a state mandate to pre-fund $23 million in health insurance coverage for retirees until they reached the age to draw Medicaid or Medicare, the teachers feel they once again stepped up to the plate in a big way.

"We let them wipe that liability off the books for a $3 million buyout," True said. "And the only thing that they've offered us, with regards to a raise, is zero percent.

"If the corporation is as broke as they want to say, and I think we're close, then more than a half a million dollars is a godsend," True said.

The Brazil Times was not able to contact the superintendent or school board members about True's comments. The paper plans to follow up for a future report.

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