No new contract for SH teachers
South Harrison Community School Corp. teachers have begun another school year without a contract. They are no closer to reaching a settlement with the school system than they were on May 30, the last day of the 2001-2002 school year, when contract mediation failed to produce an agreement.
In a press release, South Harrison Education Association (SHEA) President Evelyn Bell said, “It never fails. We’re the last in Harrison County to settle our contract. We’ve been reasonable and professional every year. I just wish it resulted in a contract for a change.” Bell teaches at the Corydon Intermediate School.
The SHEA has purchased red T-shirts for teachers and supporters to wear the first day of school and at other school events. The T-shirts bear the slogan “United Mind Workers” on the back.
Representatives of the SHEA, which represents the teachers, have been at the bargaining table with the school board attorney several times since Aug. 8, 2001, without reaching an agreement.
The teachers had asked the school corporation for a three-percent raise but were offered a two-percent bonus instead. The SHEA said its bottom line is three percent.
On May 30, during a mediation session with State Hearing Officer Vicki Martin, representing the teachers, and Chuck Rubright, representing the school, the teachers asked for a two-year contract package which included a two-percent increase for 2001-2002 and a 3.25-percent increase for 2002-2003 in addition to other concessions.
This request was rejected by the school system.
Rubright said, “Given the uncertainty surrounding the limited funding that schools may receive for the 2002-2003 school year, the school simply could not commit to a second-year contract at this time.”
School board and SHEA representatives will meet with Dr. Dale Findley on Sept. 12 for a non-binding fact-finding hearing which is expected to lead to a report that will result in a contract settlement.
“The reason it has taken so long to schedule this hearing is because of people’s vacation schedules through the summer,” Findley said. “Both sides have received guide sheets for preparing their fact-finding reports, which they will present during the hearing.
“I’ll take the information back and sort through it and make my report. Fact-finding is only advisory and doesn’t have to be accepted.”
The hearing will be conducted in Corydon at 4 p.m. on Sept. 12 at a location yet to be announced.