Negotiations bring contract agreement to school district

By D. Richard Roth

Students attending DeKalb School District’s various unit schools will not get an extended summer vacation as it turns out.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the DeKalb Teachers’ Union officially approved a contract offer from the school board, the details of which were not disclosed.

“We received word that the teachers’ union accepted the latest offer from the board, though the specific details cannot be revealed at this time,” Assistant DeKalb Superintendent Jack Barshinger said.

The deal between the teachers’ union and the school board comes on the heels of a very tense negotiating process that has been drawn out over six months, he said.

Negotiations for the contract initially went smoothly with non-economic issues resolved without incident, he said. Subsequently less discretion was left for leeway on monetary issues.

“The negotiations that took place Monday included four offers being made to the teachers’ union, with mediators present, all except one being rejected,” he said.

Late Monday night, the board submitted a one-year proposal, without federal mediation, which was tentatively accepted by the teachers’ union, Barshinger said.

He said, “Unlike the previous contract which was multi-year, this contract will last only one year.”

One factor which may have made the negotiation process smoother was the fact that both sides involved agreed in principle not to bring irrelevant issues to the table to gain power, he said.

“Overall, we are pleased the agreement was reached without disruption to the children in district 428 and the school year will proceed on schedule,” Barshinger said.