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North Boone teachers eye March 3 strike
By Jim Hagerty
Teachers in the North Boone School District are one step closer to a walkout, as tonight’s meeting failed to result in a new contract.
Members of the North Boone Education Association rallied outside District 200’s Poplar Grove administration building before the Monday, Feb. 24, school board meeting in hopes of solidifying a new deal. In spite of an offer announced earlier Monday, teachers are demanding more.
According to the district’s offer, teachers would receive a 3 percent pay raise without pay cuts or freezes. The offer also asks for teachers to contribute $10 per month toward escalating health care expenses while the district would continue funding pensions at 10 percent of salary. Teachers would contribute 0.5 percent to their pensions, while coaching stipends and activity sponsors would increase by 40 percent. New teachers would also get a more than 3 percent raise, according to the offer.
The union says that’s not enough. Even though the district is offering a raise—more than the union’s proposed one-and-a-half-percent increase—the offer does not include the annual increases teachers are looking for, especially for those who earn advanced degrees.
According to a state law, the district may strike as early as Thursday, Feb. 27. However, union officials say they will walk out Monday, March 3, if a deal can’t be reached.
Parties are scheduled to meet again Tuesday and Wednesday. North Boone teachers have been negotiating a new contract since last July.
Meanwhile, district officials have projected a $750,000 deficit in 2014 and a $1 million budget hole in 2015.
“For the first time in more than a century, we are experiencing decreased funding each year from the state,” Board of Education President Don Ward said. “If we accept the union’s contract proposal, we will run out of money in less than five years.”
More information about the North Boone Board of Education proposal is at nbcusd.org.