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 Teachers Awaiting Contract

June 11, 2008 - It has been over a year-and-a-half since Charles A. Beard Memorial School Corporation teachers last received a pay increase - and that two-percent raise, part of the 2005-2006 school year contract between the board and teachers, was already a year late when approved in November 2006.

More than 20 teachers attended the May 20 meeting of the CAB School Board. In a show of solidarity, they silently stood as Knightstown Intermediate School teacher Tom Crawford, president of the local Classroom Teachers Association, read a prepared statement criticizing the board for its lack of progress in negotiating a new contract with teachers.

In his comments to the board, Crawford said teachers had continued to work hard for CAB and its students despite not having a current, up-to-date contract. He said the board had shown a lack of respect for CAB teachers through its unwillingness to approve a new contract.

"Our teachers are working hard, without the respect of the board, to keep this school corporation strong educationally …," Crawford said. "Teachers are tired of being an afterthought in contract negotiations and financial priorities. Just think what could be accomplished if the board respected our employees and worked with them."

Board President Mike Fruth told Crawford he was offended by his remarks about the board not respecting CAB's teachers.

Fruth said it takes both sides to reach an agreement and that the board had been "at the table, waiting on the teachers."

Crawford recently provided The Banner with an update on the status of contract negotiations. "It's totally stalled," he said. "There's nothing happening."

According to Crawford, negotiations between the CTA and school board reached an impasse after a January 31 bargaining meeting. At that point, he said the board was offering teachers no retroactive increase for the 2006-2007 school year and only a one-percent raise for the 2007-2008 school year. According to Crawford, that is nearly three-percent below the state average for that two-year period.

Since declaring the impasse, Crawford said the CTA and school board bargaining team met twice with a mediator, the most recent meeting being in mid-April. He said the mediator recommended that the parties continue to try to resolve contractual issues themselves, but that CAB interim Superintendent Ray Pavy and Business Manger David Bundy had not responded to repeated requests to schedule additional bargaining meetings.

"The teachers would really like to have a contract," Crawford said. "They've been working for two years without one. We think they really deserve to have one. … When you have the resources to give a person a raise of over 40 percent, then they ought to have the resources to give raises to all employees." (The CAB School Board approved a 40-percent raise for the corporation's transportation director, Janet White, in January 2007. - Ed.)


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