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Teachers union members overwhelmingly approve contract with CCSD

Updated Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 | 6:45 p.m.

The Clark County School Board is expected to finalize its teachers' contract next month after an overwhelming majority of teachers union members ratified a tentative agreement Wednesday night.

The contract for the 2013-14 school year was supported by 93 percent of Clark County Education Association members who attended the ratification meeting at Western High School.

"We are excited to have an agreement with our teachers that provides them with advancement on the salary schedule," said School Board President Carolyn Edwards in a press release. "We look forward to moving on together and focusing on the academic success of every student."

The union did not release how many people attended and voted at the meeting.

Here are the details of the tentative contract, according to the union:

• The salary schedule has been restored, which means eligible teachers will receive step and column raises that had been frozen for the past two years.

• The School District also will cover a mandatory 1 percent increase in employee contributions to the state employee pension fund.

• Licensed nurses will be increased by one step because of new dual license and degree requirements.

• Seniority pay has been increased.

• The School District and teachers will pay less into the Retiree Health Trust. The employee contribution will be $1 per pay period, which would save $28 per month for employees. The School District's contribution will be reduced to $100,000 annually.

• The School District and the teachers union are still negotiating terms of health insurance. The Teachers Health Trust has been struggling financially, and under former Superintendent Dwight Jones, the School District was considering consolidating its employee health insurance plans. If no agreement is reached by Oct. 12, the School District or the union may declare an impasse and call for a third-party arbitrator to make a binding decision.

• Teachers will have an increased number of days where they can take personal leave. They will also be able to create a working group to discuss professional development, evaluations and other issues with the superintendent.

The tentative contract is expected to go before the School Board at its Sept. 12 meeting. If the one-year agreement wins approval there, it would be the first time a contract has been in place at the start of the school year since the 2010-11 school year. Contract negotiations fell into arbitration the past two years as the School District battled with the teachers union over pay raises.

The School Board has allowed the tentative agreement to go into effect so that the changes will be implemented for the first paycheck of the school year on Sept. 10, district spokeswoman Kirsten Searer said.

School started Monday in Clark County, the nation's fifth-largest school district.

Last month, the School Board unanimously approved a raise for support staff employees that will cost the district $2.5 million over the next biennium. Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky also approved raises for some of his cabinet members, although his administrative reorganization is expected to save the district $145,000.

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