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New contract likely for NH teachers

The teachers of the North Harrison Community School Corp. ratified a tentative agreement Monday that, if approved by the five-member school board next month, will end the standoff of the lack of a new teacher contract.
Dan Haskell, president of the North Harrison Classroom Teachers Association, said yesterday that the vote by the teachers was ‘overwhelming’ in ratifying the proposal.
The teachers have been operating on a contract that expired at the end of the 2003-04 school year.
‘The provisions of the tentative agreement are very much the same as what was agreed to last year,’ Haskell said.
A tentative contract was negotiated in November 2009, was ratified by the teachers’ union in April but failed to pass the board when a vote was taken in July, after three new board members took office. The vote was 2-2-1, with two of the new school trustees, Veronica Battista and Steve Hanger, in favor of the proposal and the third new member, Marla Adams, a former North Harrison teacher, abstaining. The two holdover trustees, Michael Beyerle and Jerry Renneker, voted against the proposal.
Beyerle had said he wanted to make sure there would be enough reoccurring revenue to afford it.
While complete details of the proposed contract weren’t available, Haskell did say that the new proposal contained ‘all the tentative language agreements’ that had previously been reached.
One of the sticking points for settling a new contract has been the buy-out for retiring teachers.
Haskell said the new proposal regarding the buy-out was prepared by Educational Services.
If passed by the board at its Jan. 13 meeting, teachers will receive a stipend, 1 percent for the schools years 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 and 2 percent for 2010-11 and 2011-12.
‘All stipends are to apply to all retirees employed during the effective years of the contract proposal,’ Haskell said, adding that those checks are to be issued within 45 calendar days of ratification by the board.
The stipends also apply to extracurricular and summer school positions, as well as all other positions covered by the master contract.
Battista said yesterday that she is ‘very optimistic’ that the board will approve the contract next month.
‘All the board members were involved in negotiations,’ she said. ‘I think everybody’s trying the best we can to settle this.’
Both sides have made compromises in the process, she added.