2010-07-09 / Schools

Union and PVSD reach contract agreement

After months of negotiating, the Pleasant Valley School District and its teachers union reached an agreement earlier this week.

In a special board meeting Wednesday evening, trustees voted unanimously to approve a contract with the Pleasant Valley Education Association.

Board members said a “fairshare” approach to contract talks helped bring both sides together. That approach generally means the books are open and the atmosphere is more collaborative than during traditional negotiations.

If the two sides rely solely on traditional negotiation tactics, Trustee Ron Speakman said, he predicts a “blood bath” during next year’s contract talks.

Board President Patty Lerner agreed.

“It’s going to take both parties being serious before coming to the table,” she said.

In the approved agreement, teachers’ pay will continue to increase automatically and class size will be 24 students for second and third grades. Both issues were sticking points in a tentative agreement rejected by the board in May.

The board shot down the previous contract because it raised class size to 28 students for second and third grades, and some board members called for a freeze on teachers’ pay or a cut by as much as 10 percent.

In January, the union and the district began negotiations.

Union president Brett Fuchs said because talks had stalled twice before, the union was poised to apply for a state-appointed mediator to help smooth the negotiations.

Before an outside party was brought in, however, both sides returned to the bargaining table and an agreement was reached.

Calls to Fuchs seeking comment were not returned.

—Michelle Knight

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