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Teachers hear contract proposal from Oswego School Board

Updated: December 19, 2012 12:55PM

OSWEGO — Teachers in the Oswego School District have been at the negotiating table since January, and working without a contract since July 31, but there’s no cause for concern yet about any kind of job action, according to Oswego Education Association President Darla Medernach.

Last Monday, the School Board’s attorney publicly announced the board’s latest offer to the district’s teachers, which was presented to the OEA on Nov. 8.

Two days later, the OEA presented the proposal to about 700 of its teachers.

“All we did is present it to them,” said Medernach. “We did not ask them to vote on in it. We’re conducting polls at this time, asking them what they found favorable or unfavorable. We’re going to take that information and hopefully get another face-to-face with the board, and hope that they’ll continue to negotiate.”

Sticking points in the contract include working hours at the high schools and compensation.

Teachers at the high schools currently work five periods of instruction, plus a supervisory period — usually supervising students in a class or activity in which no grades are given — and a planning period. The school board’s proposal calls for teachers to teach six graded classes each day, plus one planning period.

Concerning salary, in July the OEA proposed a 1 percent increase to some but not all teachers, plus lane increases for those who have attained additional degrees or certifications, and step increases for years served.

The School Board’s Nov. 8 offer includes across-the-board salary increases — a half-percent in the first year, 1 percent in year two, and 1.5 percent in year three, plus lane increases, but no step increases.

Medernach said the sticking points are a matter of ensuring a quality education for students.

“We are in competition with surrounding districts for top teachers and we need our compensation to be competitive, so that Oswego can attract career teachers who want to make District 308 their final destination, not a stepping stone to other districts,” she said.

“(Superintendent Matthew Wendt) has openly challenged teachers, administrators and the community to strive for excellence. He’s said in so many word he doesn’t want us to be a great school district but a world class district. That starts with attracting the best teachers.”

The School Board and the teachers union have met accompanied by an outside negotiator three times, but have not yet set a date for another round of negotiations.

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